Embattled Virginia Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax is "seriously" mulling a run for the commonwealth's highest office and suggested that the multiple sexual misconduct allegations have helped raise his profile.
Fairfax told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he felt "really inspired" after his recent trip to England than he was "very hopeful about the future."
"Going on that trip and even leaving that trip, I was really inspired,” Fairfax said. “I’m very hopeful about the future. We’ve gotten a lot of encouragement about future political steps. I’m thinking very seriously about 2021.”
Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is also reportedly considering another run for the governorship after ultimately deciding not to run for president in 2020, citing "problems" that needed to be solved in his home state.
Despite being accused of sexual assault by two women, however, Fairfax is convinced that the publicity will ultimately help him.
“Many people a year ago would not have recognized me, now they really do,” Fairfax explained. “People come up to me at gas stations, they say, ‘Hey, we recognize you. We love you. We know what they are saying about you is false.’"
In February, Scripps college associated professor Vanessa C. Tyson came forward with a claim that Fairfax assaulted her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Days later, a second accuser, Meredith Watson said Fairfax raped her when they were both students at Duke University in 2000.
The top three officials in Virginia have been fighting off numerous controversies since February. Gov. Ralph Northam has repeatedly denied that he appeared in a racist photo that was printed in his 1984 medical school yearbook but admitted to dressing up in blackface as Michael Jackson in a dance contest in that same time period. Amid the uproar, VA Attorney General Mark Herring also admitted to wearing blackface at a 1980 party. Northam, Fairfax, and Herring all remain in office.