Inside Northam's Fight for Survival: Can the Governor Keep His Job?

February 8, 2019 AT 7:15 AM

By Anita Kumar and Maggie Severns

Ralph Northam might just hang on to his job.

Left for dead a week ago after his disastrous handling of his history with blackface, the Democratic Virginia governor is quietly plotting a survival strategy. He’s conferring with sympathetic Republican lawmakers and has hired a crisis manager who’s decamped to Richmond from Washington.

And as the state capitol descended into pandemonium this week after two other statewide Democrats faced their own scandals — episodes that could, ironically, help Northam’s chances of remaining in office — the governor sought counsel from pastors and worked to persuade his top staff not to bail.

Northam’s work to salvage his political career represents a remarkable — and quite possibly uncharted — attempt at survival for an embattled politician. It reflects how President Donald Trump’s election after the "Access Hollywood" tape has changed the calculus for other lawmakers staring down the political abyss in 2019.

While national and state Democrats swiftly called for Northam's resignation, half a dozen people in the state told POLITICO that the governor has no plans to leave with three years left in his term.

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