Northam, Fairfax, and Herring hang tough in Virginia

The Washington Post notes that all three of Virginia’s top three elected officials have remained in office despite the scandals that rocked them. The Post observes that the scandals are losing steam.

Two of the three officials, Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, wore blackface decades ago. The third, Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax, has been accused of two instances of sexual assault.

I’m glad that Northam and Herring haven’t resigned. There’s no reason why mildly racist actions from a remote time and a very different era should disqualify one from public service.

It’s unfortunate that Northam must now appease black legislators to an even greater degree than is required of an ordinary Democratic governor in a state like Virginia. But that’s better than seeing political correctness unfairly claim another victim.

Justin Fairfax’s case is very different, of course. If he sexually assaulted anyone, then it’s obvious that he shouldn’t hold public office. Instead, he should be in prison.

Fairfax admits having sex with both alleged victims, but claims the sex was consensual. His lawyers say he has passed polygraph tests about both incidents. To me, this shows that Fairfax now believes the sex was consensual, not that it really was. However, he doesn’t forfeit the right to defend himself just because he’s an elected official.

The allegations need to be investigated, but it’s not clear whether they will be. One of the two alleged victims isn’t pressing criminal charges. The other seemed interested in doing so, but the Post is uncertain as to whether a criminal investigation is in the works.

Virginia House Republicans said they would conduct hearings in February. They promised to hear from the alleged victims. However, no hearings have been scheduled.

Fairfax has called on law enforcement to investigate. However, his staff told the Post he has not been contacted by any authorities or by House Republicans.

The ball is no longer in Fairfax’s court. It’s up to the victims to press charges, or for to law enforcement to investigate on its own, or for House Republicans to pursue the matter.

It’s good to see Northam, Fairfax, and Herring hanging tough. I hope the days of running people out of office based on ancient, mild misbehavior and/or disputed allegations of sexual assault are coming to an end.

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