State House Speaker Kirk Cox, who is third in line to be governor, was asked by reporters whether anything in his past might disqualify him from taking over the governor's office in the extraordinary circumstances of all three Democrats resigning.
Fairfax, who is black, and Herring, who like Northam is white, are first and second in line, respectively, to succeed Northam as governor should he resign. That leaves many state Democrats in a quandary: Should they stick to the moral high ground and seek their resignations, or protect the party's power in a vital battleground state?
Racial discrimination is more explicit in Virginia, which grapples with a legacy of slavery and white supremacy, but it also exists - in a more subtle form - in Oregon, Brown said.
"I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others", he said.
Initially, he admitted he was in the photo without saying which costume he was wearing. "Over the past several days, he has even toyed with the idea of leaving the Democratic Party and governing as an independent - a sign of the degree that he is isolated from every political ally, from his state party and from the national party".
"I felt a jarring sense of both outrage and despair", she said in the statement.More news: 5 reasons to say 'Thank U' for Ariana Grande's new album
"After Fairfax won his lieutenant governor race, Tyson followed up with a November 2017 email asking to talk to Scott about her dislike of Fairfax and then texted Scott in December 2017 to inform him that the then-lieutenant governor-elect had a "#MeToo allegation" against him. Cox also urged Herring to "adhere to the standard he has set for others", a nod to Herring's previous call that Northam resign.
The bombshell comes after Virginia's Republican party said top Democrats had lost the authority to govern.
For the past week, Gov. Ralph Northam has defied widespread calls for his resignation after a racist yearbook picture and a bungled response upended his career. And Al Sharpton, the prominent black activist and television personality, told BuzzFeed News that Herring and Northam should resign and that he'd lead protests against the two politicians. She says she met Lt. Gov. Fairfax in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, and in her statement, published separately by The Washington Post, describes in detail her allegations.
But he also said: "This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the almost 40 years since". His about-face was undercut by simultaneous revelations and acknowledgments - that he wore shoe polish on his face for a dance contest after medical school; that "Coonman" was among his nicknames in college. During a press conference Saturday, Northam insisted he was not in the yearbook photo but admitted he had once worn blackface.
Tyson's statement - along with the fact that she hired the same law firm that represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during Ford's allegations a year ago against now Supreme Court Justice Brent Kavanaugh - was a sign to Fairfax and his team that the story wasn't going anywhere.
Fairfax, a Democrat, has denied the accusation, saying the sexual encounter was 100 percent consensual.