HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — In the 24 hours after a racist photo surfaced from Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook, Democrats joined Republicans in urging Virginia's governor to step aside.
"The chair of the Virginia Democratic Party Susan Swecker sent out a statement that she agrees that she thinks he should resign," said Jennifer Lewis, the active chair of Waynesboro Democrats and a former congressional candidate. "If he doesn't willingly resign, I think there will be an overswell of support to get him out in other ways."
Jennifer M Brown, the Chair of the Virginia 6th District GOP Committee, echoed the Republican Party of Virginia's sentiment that Northam should resign.
"He needs to do what's right for both parties he needs to do right for the people who trusted him," Brown said on Saturday.
In a reversal, Northam denied his involvement in the 1984 picture — which showed a person in what appeared to be blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit — during a press conference on Saturday. The day before, he acknowledged he was, in fact, in the picture.
Virginia Military Institute also confirmed on Saturday the authenticity of another yearbook page which listed a racial slur as a nickname for Northam as a student, according to our sister station WDBJ in Roanoke.
Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine called on Northam to leave office after his press conference as well.
“After we watched his press conference today, we called Governor Northam to tell him that we no longer believe he can effectively serve as Governor of Virginia and that he must resign," the two said in a joint statement. "Governor Northam has served the people of the Commonwealth faithfully for many years, but the events of the past 24 hours have inflicted immense pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders. He should step down and allow the Commonwealth to begin healing.”