WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Virginia’s growing Democratic political scandal is causing a dramatic split between party leaders.
Governor Ralph Northam and now Attorney General Mark Herring are embroiled in fights for their political lives over wearing blackface.
But, as Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax insists he’s innocent of sexual assault allegations, a top Northern Virginia Democrat says she believes Fairfax’s accuser.
The question is, when the issue is sexual assault – and the accused is Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax – do Virginia Democrats have a double standard over who they will or won’t condemn?
Many Democrats have called for Northam to resign – but so far that hasn’t happened with Fairfax.
Despite many in Northern Virginia voicing support for the #MeToo and #WeBelieveYou movements during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing, cracks in the Democratic response to the Fairfax scandal are beginning to show.
On Wednesday night, Northern Virginia’s Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton sent out a tweet that read simply, “I believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson.”
Tyson is the woman who detailed an alleged sexual assault by the lieutenant governor.
When asked, Wexton said, the lieutenant governor’s denials alone are not enough to make this go away.
“I know in this time, that everything changes very quickly. I think that this, this accuser needs an opportunity to be heard. And she needs to be heard in a place that’s safe and is supported,” Wexton said.
So far though, the congresswoman is one of the few in the Virginia delegation who has come out in support of Tyson.
Senator Mark Warner said he’s “shocked and incredibly disappointed.” Tim Kaine said the situation “makes him sick.”
But neither has called – as they did with Northam – for Fairfax to resign.
Last fall, both Virginia Democratic senators voted against Kavanaugh, in part, over the sexual assault allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
At that time, Kaine wrote that sexual assault victims “need to be taken seriously.”
On Thursday, the senator insisted to FOX 5 that the Fairfax and Kavanaugh cases are different.
“But I know Justin and he’s seriously denied that allegation,” Kaine said.
He pointed out that he reached a different conclusion in the Kavanaugh case after an investigation in the Senate and the FBI with witnesses he’d had a chance to see for himself.
Kaine went on to say that a very serious allegation has been made that needs to be taken seriously.
FOX 5 reached out to the office of Virginia Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott.
Scott has joined the Virginia senators calling for Northam’s resignation. But published reports say Scott learned of the allegations against the lieutenant governor more than a year ago.
Scott has not responded to FOX 5 at this point.