2020 Democrat candidates join lawmakers calling for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign as a 2nd woman accuses him of sexual assault

  • Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is facing a slew of calls to resign after a second women accused him of sexual assault.
  • Justin Fairfax was accused on Friday of raping a woman when they were in university together. Another woman had accused him of sexual assaulting him in 2004.
  • Presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand have all called for Fairfax to resign, as have the Virginia Democratic Party and Sen. Tim Kaine.
  • Fairfax denies the allegations, and his spokesperson told INSIDER: “At no time has the Lt. Governor assaulted anyone at any time or at any place.”

2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have joined lawmakers from both parties in calling for the resignation of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax after a second woman accused him of sexual assault on Friday.

Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren all called for Fairfax’s resignation after Meredith Watson alleged in a statement through her attorney that Fairfax raped her when they were students at Duke University in a “premediated and aggressive attack” in 2000.

Her accusations join those of Vanessa Tyson, who said Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on her in Boston during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Fairfax has denied the allegations, but calls for his resignation have grown and Democratic lawmaker Patrick Hope said he will introduce articles of impeachment if Fairfax does not resign before Monday.

Read more: Virginia Democrat threatens Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax with impeachment if he doesn’t resign by Monday

Booker called the allegations against Fairfax “deeply troubling.”

“They are serious, credible, and corroborated by others. It is no longer appropriate for him to serve. He should resign,” Booker said on Friday.

Gillibrand said: “This new allegation from Meredith Watson that that Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax raped her, corroberated by at least two individuals in interviews and emails, is sickening and horrendous. I believe Meredith Watson and Dr. Tyson, and it was extremely brave of them to come forward.

“Mr. Fairfax should resign and no longer serve the Commonwealth of Virginia,” she said.

Warren said the allegations against Fairfax were “credible and troubling” and make it clear that Lt. Gov Fairfax should resign.”

“My heart goes out to these brave women and their families,” Warren tweeted.

Harris said the allegations were “corroborated, painful stories of sexual assault and rape” and said: “It’s clear Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax should resign his office.”

In a statement to INSIDER, Fairfax’s spokesperson said: “At no time has the Lt. Governor assaulted anyone at any time or at any place. As a father, husband, and public servant, he knows that sexual assault is a very serious matter and survivors of sexual assault deserve to be heard.”

Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy has also called for Fairfax to to step down from its Board of Visitors.

Read more: A wave of scandals has turned Virginia politics on its head, and the state’s top three politicians could all be on the way out

Dean Judith Kelley emailed staff and students on Friday, telling them that Fairfax would be asked to step down, The Chronicle reported.

“I am writing to let you know that Justin Fairfax will be asked to step down from the Sanford School Board of Visitors pending the resolution of the serious and deeply distressing allegations that have been made against him,” Kelley wrote.

Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax presides over the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol, February 7, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.

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Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax presides over the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol, February 7, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.
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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Virginia’s Sen. Tim Kaine also joined calls for Fairfax to resign, saying in a statement on Friday night: “The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes, and he can no longer effectively serve the Commonwealth. We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault.”

The Virginia Democratic Party on Friday said: “He needs to address this as a private citizen. The time has come for him to step down.”

“Due to the serious nature of these allegations, we believe Lieutenant Governor Fairfax can no longer fulfill his duties to the Commonwealth,” state Democrats wrote in a statement late Friday, The Hill reported.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a tweet that the allegations against Fairfax are “serious and credible” and called for his “immediate resignation.”

The accusations against Fairfax are part of a scandal engulfing the Democratic party in Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam is also rejecting calls to resign after a 1984 yearbook page attributed to him shows one person wearing blackface and another wearing Ku Klux Klan-style robes. Northam says he is not depicted in the photo, but that he wore blackface on another occasion.

And Attorney General Mark Herring, also a lawmaker, also said that he wore blackface as an undergraduate in 1980.