Paul Goldman, candidate in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, slammed likely gubernatorial candidate former Governor Terry McAuliffe in a Monday press release. Goldman censured McAuliffe and establishment Democrats for calling for Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) to resign in 2019 without due process after allegations of sexual abuse involving Fairfax, who is running for governor in 2021.
“With all due respect for Terry [McAuliffe], he threw Ralph [Northam] and Justin [Fairfax] under the proverbial political bus, he didn’t care about due process, about getting the facts, he wanted to score political points,” Goldman said.
Goldman said he was motivated by a commitment to the ideals of democracy, but he didn’t say why he chose this week for his press release. Democratic political strategist Ben Tribbett suggested that it could be because McAuliffe is expected to announce his candidacy for governor soon. The former Governor has filed paperwork for a 2021 gubernatorial campaign, but has not officially declared that he will run.
“[McAuliffe] needs to address why he played Judge and Jury, the same for the Party Establishment,” Goldman said. “By calling on Fairfax to immediately resign, they in effect declared him guilty in the court of public opinion. They did same to Governor Northam. This violated what we Democrats are supposed to believe.”
Goldman’s release highlights the complicated maneuvering and strategy of a Democratic Party rattled by one week in February 2019 when separate scandals surfaced involving all three top Democratic elected officials.
Even after leaving the governor’s office in 2018, McAuliffe has been a leading voice of the Democratic Party of Virginia and will be a strong contender for the Democratic nomination. McAuliffe was quick to criticize Fairfax for his 2019 scandal, and quick to support beloved Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) when she was charged with felonies earlier this year.
Fairfax spokesperson Lauren Burke told The Virginia Star that immediately after the first allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against Fairfax, McAuliffe attacked Fairfax. Burke said, “McAuliffe was the first to demand [that Fairfax] resign without knowing anything.”
“The story broke at 5 p.m.,” Burke said. “[McAuliffe] tweeted at 5:03 p.m.”
Burke said that Fairfax didn’t know about Goldman’s press release until after it came out, and she said Fairfax and Goldman aren’t working together.
Another reason for Goldman’s press release is his own candidacy. Goldman used the press release to highlight his qualifications for office, including experience standing up for due process.
“If Terry [McAuliffe] and the Democratic Party Establishment want to take us back to an accusation culture, where they can declare you guilty until proven innocent, then I for one want to know,” Goldman said. “No one should hunger to be Lieutenant Governor so much that he is afraid to speak truth to power.”
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