If nothing else, the timing is certainly suspect.
Just days after House Democrats once again blocked a bipartisan hearing into the sexual assault allegations against Democratic Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, Fairfax told the Richmond Times Dispatch he was considering a run for governor.
Fairfax has been under fire since February, when two women came forward separately and accuse him of sexual assault.
The Times Dispatch reported Friday morning that increased name recognition had Fairfax talking about a run for higher office, even after dozens of Democrats in the state had called for his resignation.
“Many people a year ago would not have recognized me, now they really do,” Fairfax told the Times Dispatch. “People come up to me at gas stations, they say, ‘Hey, we recognize you. We love you. We know what they are saying about you is false.’ ”
The timing raises significant questions, said House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah.
“Do House Democrats support Lt. Governor Fairfax? If they are acting to protect their preferred candidate for Governor from public scrutiny at the expense of two brave women who simply want to tell their stories, it would represent the worst kind of politics,” Gilbert said in a statement. “I sincerely hope that this isn’t the case.”
Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn wrote to House Republicans last week, reiterating her caucus’ stance that they would not participate in any hearing, regardless of what Farifax’s accusers sought.
“As we have previously stated, Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson deserve to share their stories publicly; however, House Republicans have failed to address any of the points of clarification we requested, and indeed, have only proven our concern that this hearing would be a partisan political exercise,” she said.
“As such, we will not participate in House Republicans’ political games, nor will we turn such serious allegations into a partisan sideshow.”
Legislators return to Richmond on July 9 for a special session on gun control called by Democrat Governor Ralph Northam.