Congress

Most Democrats from Virginia delegation call on Fairfax to resign

Only Scott and Warner did not call for immediate resignation

Freshman Rep. Elaine Luria was of six Virginia Democrats in the House to call for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to step aside Friday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The majority of Virginia’s Democratic delegation on Friday night called for the resignation of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who’s facing allegations of sexual assault from two women. 

Only Robert C. Scott, the dean of the House delegation, and Sen. Mark Warner did not call for Fairfax's resignation immediately.

Scott said the allegations should be investigated. 

"If either is found to be true – and there appears to be significant corroborating evidence – then the Lt Governor should resign immediately," Scott said in a tweet Friday night.

Warner said Fairfax should resign if the allegations are "accurate."

Fairfax would be next in line to be governor should Gov. Ralph Northam step aside. Virginia's Democratic lawmakers have all called for Northam to resign since he admitted to dressing up in blackface at a press conference last weekend. 

Reps. Donald S. Beyer Jr., Gerald E. Connolly, Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria and Jennifer Wexton said in a joint statement that they believed the account of Vanessa Tyson, a political science professor at Scripps College who accused Fairfax of assaulting her in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. A second woman, Meredith Watson, on Friday accused Fairfax of raping her when they were students at Duke University. 

“We believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson. We found her account compelling and highly credible,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The central issue at the heart of her account is consent, and there can be no better authority to decide whether it was given than Dr. Tyson herself. Meredith Watson’s statement describes another extremely disturbing incident, which lends further credence to Dr. Tyson’s story,” they added.

“All survivors of sexual violence and harassment deserve to be supported and heard, and our commitment to that principle is more important than any political consideration.”

Rep. A. Donald McEachin, another Democrat in the delegation, tweeted shortly after his colleagues’ statement went out that Fairfax “can no longer serve as the lieutenant governor of Virginia.” 

In his own statement later Friday night calling for Fairfax's resignation, Sen. Tim Kaine said, "The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes."

Earlier this week it came out that Tyson first told Scott her story a year ago, when she took her allegations to the Washington Post.

“Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously. I have known Professor Tyson for approximately a decade and she is a friend. She deserves the opportunity to have her story heard,” Scott told ABC Thursday night.

The five lawmakers who issued the joint statement wrote that Fairfax had “shown exceptionally poor judgment in his handling” of the sexual assault allegations.

“He repeatedly attacked his accuser, he reportedly used vile and degrading language to describe her, he mischaracterized an investigation into the encounter, and he sought to blame others for events in his own past. These actions do not meet the standard to which we hold Virginia’s highest elected officers,” they wrote.

Later on Friday night the state House and Senate Democrats called on Fairfax to resign.

"Due to the serious nature of these allegations, we believe Lieutenant Governor Fairfax can no longer fulfill his duties to the Commonwealth. He needs to address this as a private citizen. The time has come for him to step down," state lawmakers said in a statement.