As President Trump kicks off 2020 campaign, Virginia GOP capitalizes on Northam yearbook pic

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — As President Donald Trump announced the start of his reelection campaign Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida, the Virginia GOP posted a tweet it hopes will resonate with Virginia voters frustrated with Democrats facing scandals in the state.

The tweeted picture shows, to the left, Trump with the quote, “The American Dream is back. It’s Bigger, Better, and Stronger than ever.” On the right, the controversial 1984 EVMS yearbook page of Gov. Ralph Northam’s, where a picture of two men — one in blackface and the other in KKK garb — was detected.

While Northam says the picture is not of him, Virginia GOP’s use of the photo shows how they may highlight issues with Democrats in the state going into the 2020 Presidential election and the 2019 Virginia State Senate elections — where all 140 seats in Virginia’s General Assembly are up for grabs.

Also, scandals involving Attorney General Mark Herring and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax are issues Democrats face, along with the Northam fall out.  Republicans currently hold a two-seat majority in the Virginia General Assembly.

“I have worked with the governor. We certainly have not agreed on everything, but I would say that this is just heartbreaking,” said house of delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R), when the yearbook page made the news.

Northam has fended off calls to resign after the racist photo. And a  Quinnipiac University poll showed that 48% plurality of voters in the Commonwealth think he should not resign, with only 42% thinking he should. The study also found that nearly two-thirds (65%) say he should not be impeached.

Northam still faces backlash for the yearbook page photo, but he has worked to overcome it. In the weeks that followed the scandal making headlines, Northam went on  a “reconciliation tour” around the state to engage in discussions about race and healing.

Also, in an interview with the Washington Post following the discovery of his yearbook page, Northam said, “I want to make sure that all Virginians have equal opportunity … and I think I’m the person that can do that for Virginia.”

Trump has not made many comments on the scandals facing Virginia Democrats, but did take the chance when the news was fresh to voice his opinion.

“If the three failing pols (politicians) were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken. Virginia will come back HOME Republican) in 2020,” said Trump in a tweet about Virginia’s top three politicians facing controversy.

In 2016, President Trump lost Virginia to former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He picked up 44.41 percent of Commonwealth voters to her 49.73 percent, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

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