A constitutional crisis mainly driven by race and threatening to wipe out the Democratic executive leadership in Virginia could elevate a Republican fighting to preserve state voting districts that critics say disadvantage blacks.
Kirk Cox, now the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, is fourth in line to take over the governorship imperiled by black face controversies involving Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, and a sexual assault allegation, which he denies, against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who’d become the second black governor and the first in 25 years if he succeeds his boss.
Cox, 61, is a conservative in a state that continues to struggle to fully shed an ugly historical racial legacy while simultaneously becoming a model for political diversity and an economic powerhouse that’s just lured Amazon to its northern suburbs.
The gerrymandering case, which is set to be argued at the Supreme Court on March 18, isn’t related to the unfolding scandal in Richmond, but it does layer on another element of race to its politics.