Ralph Northam's former classmates "fully believe" he is not in racist photo

Northam's former classmates show support

Richmond, Va. — Four days after he was linked to a racist photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is conducting business as usual and defying calls for his resignation.

"I cannot tell you why he hasn't resigned, but I am so praying that he will do that and get it behind us," said Democratic State Sen. Louise Lucas.

She is increasingly impatient over Northam's failure to step down in the days since a racist photo was uncovered on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. He initially apologized but later denied that he is one of the people in the photo.

Late Tuesday, a group of former classmates issued a statement saying they "fully believe" Northam is not in the photo and they do not believe the governor is racist.

A "concerned citizen" tipped off a publication about Northam's yearbook photos

Republican State Sen. Richard Stuart, a longtime friend, defended him, saying "poor judgment from 34 years ago should not outweigh a selfless service to people from every walk of life." It's an opinion shared by some Northam supporters CBS News spoke to.

"I feel like we should give him a chance," one supporter said.

But others feel differently, as do almost all Democratic leaders.

If Northam does step down, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would become governor. But he has been accused of sexual assault 15 years ago by a woman now represented by the same law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford in the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

For the third day in a row, Northam remained out of public view here at the governor's mansion while he decides what to do. Sources say one person who wants him to fight for his job is his wife.

  • Chip-Reid_bio_140x100_bw.jpg
    Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.