Virginia Capitol Thrown Into Chaos as Pressure on Northam Intensifies – The New York Times

By Monday morning, Mr. Northam had spent more than 60 hours in deepening political isolation, abandoned by Democrats who quickly came to see his diminished standing as a burden on two fronts: their policy agenda, including matters like teacher pay and tax policy, and their efforts to capture control of the House of Delegates and the Senate this year. Both chambers are within reach for the party, which has made gains throughout the state in recent years.

“It has created a dark cloud,” said Mark L. Keam, a legislator from Northern Virginia who was among the Democrats afraid of a loss of leverage as long as Mr. Northam remained the titular head of the party in Virginia.

“Right now,” he added on Sunday, “the issue that we must resolve is how the governor presides over the current legislature.”

This week is among the most crucial for the General Assembly, which faces an all-important deadline for bills to advance.

Mr. Northam, who attended his longtime church on Virginia’s Eastern Shore on Sunday morning, has commented publicly just three times since the photograph emerged online on Friday. He first issued a statement on Friday, when he said he was “deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now” and indicated that he would seek to serve out his term, set to expire in 2022. A video message released a short time later reiterated the governor’s position.

But on Saturday, Mr. Northam stunned Richmond when he reversed course and said he had concluded that he was not, in fact, in the photograph on his yearbook page. “It was definitely not me,” Mr. Northam said at a news conference. “I can tell by looking at it.”


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