Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) may actually weather the storm.
Bolstered by the explosion of other scandals in his home state and, thanks to President Donald Trump, a new standard in what constitutes a career-ending political crisis, Northam has been hunkering down in his foxhole with consultants and allies alike to make a game plan.
According to a Friday Politico report, that plan does not include resigning.
Northam has hired IR+Media, a Washington PR firm run mostly by African Americans, to help with spin. He has been meeting with pastors and sympathetic Republicans, trying to soften his image and gin up support. He has also checked in with Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring, two top Democrats also fighting their own scandals.
Northam’s case has also been strengthened by the political reality in Virginia leadership. Should he resign, the governorship would fall to Fairfax who has been credibly accused of sexual assault. If Fairfax opts out, the baton would fall to Herring, who — like Northam — has blackface photo baggage. Should Herring quit to avoid accusations of hypocrisy (as well as racism), the state would fall into Republican hands, led by Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox.