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Ken Cuccinelli: Got governor trouble? Here’s how Virginia’s succession law works – Washington Examiner
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Ken Cuccinelli: Got governor trouble? Here’s how Virginia’s succession law works – Washington Examiner

Citizens from all around The us out of the blue have a eager fascination in the purchase of succession for the Virginia governorship.

This began with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s assertion final Wednesday indicating his aid for selecting no matter whether a boy or girl born alive would get to are living or die after birth. That appears to have led to the Friday revelation of then-health-related-faculty-student Northam’s 1984 yearbook in which he appears to be in both a Ku Klux Klan outfit or in blackface.

Northam right away apologized for the offense, but then on the future working day (Saturday) arrived out and stated that he did not feel he was in the offensive photograph … but, oh by the way, he did gown up in blackface after anyway as section of a dance contest. (He claimed he gained the contest, by the way, and he virtually confirmed off his moonwalk throughout the presser before his wife intervened).

Pointless to say, Northam’s infanticide responses did not stir Democrats at all, but after the racist photograph arrived out, they (together with Republicans) have been calling on the governor to resign. And not just in just Virginia — the Democratic 2020 candidates were being racing one a different to simply call for Northam’s resignation.

If the governor had been to resign, the lieutenant governor — Justin Fairfax — would think the workplace of governor for the duration of the governor’s term. That is what men and women imagined would take place … till Sunday.

On Sunday, allegations surfaced that Justin Fairfax had sexually assaulted a lady at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Justin Fairfax straight away denied the allegations but stated the Washington Write-up knew about the allegations and refused to print a story because they located numerous inconsistencies and “pink flags” in the accuser’s story.

With shocking pace, the Washington Post known as Justin Fairfax a liar. The Publish said they didn’t operate the story mainly because they could not get previous the “he reported/she stated” character of the story. That is a significantly cry from LG Fairfax’s initial community denial.

Initial as a college student, later on as a prosecutor, I invested decades functioning to protect against sexual assault. From that background, I really don’t brain stating that it ticks me off to see Fairfax’s initial reaction is to assault the human being accusing him in its place of providing details that may well corroborate his denial of the allegations. But in any circumstance, if the scenario can not be moved from the “he mentioned/she stated” category, how is that to be managed? Only time will notify.

If the lieutenant governor were being elevated to the governorship or if the lieutenant governor resigned — now a real likelihood — then the recent president pro tempore of the Condition Senate “assumes the duties” of the lieutenant governor. Take note that the president pro tempore does not presume the office of lieutenant governor. It is a refined variation, but the business office of lieutenant governor would be left open up until eventually the next statewide election in 2021.

The current president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate is Sen. Steve Newman of the Lynchburg area. Newman is a Republican — a mild-mannered conservative who is perfectly-preferred on equally sides of the aisle.

Apparently, he would not have to give up his Senate seat as he assumed the responsibilities of the lieutenant governor. That usually means that he would get his vote as a point out senator, and he would also get to vote to split any ties that arise in the chamber.

It is truly worth noting that the total Basic Assembly is up for election this year and the point out senate is at present 21-19 in favor of the Republicans. If the Democrats get handle, they can elect their possess president professional tempore of the Senate, who would then have his or her own senate vote and also be capable to split ties.

That gets us up to Sunday of this unbelievable week. Considering the fact that then, matters have come to be even additional unusual.

Between those who were contacting on Gov. Northam to resign was the third person in the line of succession behind the lieutenant governor, specifically Virginia’s legal professional common, Mark Herring. On Saturday, Herring explained: “It is no for a longer period attainable for Gov. Northam to direct our Commonwealth, and it is time for him to step down.”

But after all that — immediately after calling for Gov. Northam’s resignation for his blackface/Klan photo — Herring nowadays admitted to carrying blackface himself when he was a younger adult in faculty.

All of a sudden, Democrats like Sen. Mark Warner, who were contacting for Northam to resign are pointedly not calling for Herring to resign. Why? For the reason that he is the previous of the three Democrats in the buy of succession to the governor’s office. Following in line would be the Republican speaker of the Home, Kirk Cox.

You may possibly recall in December 2017 when 1 of Virginia’s Household of Delegates races finished in an specific tie, and so was established by drawing a identify out of a bowl. That name was a Republican, giving the GOP a meager fifty one-49 bulk — the bulk that elected Kirk Cox as speaker.

If for some reason Cox could not ascend to the governorship, the remaining factor in the Virginia succession is for the Property of Delegates to elect a new governor.

Aside from whichever Northam decides to do, there is a pretty serious (now predicted) likelihood that Herring will have to resign as attorney standard. If he does so when the Basic Assembly is in session, they elect a substitute for the length of the expression. If the legal professional basic resigns while the Common Assembly is not in session, then whoever is governor at that time appoints a non permanent alternative to provide until finally the up coming Common Assembly session, at which time the Typical Assembly elects a substitution to fill that term.

The sensible collection to fill the situation is Republican Point out Sen. Mark Obenshain. Obenshain misplaced the race to then-state-senator Mark Herring by only a couple hundred votes out of far more than two million cast. Surely, experienced the persons of Virginia recognised of Herring’s blackface antics, it would have charge him tens (hundreds?) of countless numbers of votes, and Obenshain would have gained anyway.

In a 12 months when the complete Typical Assembly is up for election, with both houses divided by two seats every single, this set of disasters for the Democrats is really unprecedented. And each and every very last little bit of it is self-inflicted.

Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican and the president of the Senate Conservatives’ Fund, served as Virginia’s 46th attorney common from 2010 right up until 2014.

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