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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Virginia's Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement Wednesday that he wore blackface at a college party in 1980, amid a deepening scandal in Richmond after the discovery last week of a racist photo on Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page and his subsequent admission that he wore blackface in 1984.

Why it matters: Herring is next in line of succession to become the state's governor after Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is facing allegations of a 2004 sexual assault, which he has denied. In his statement, Herring did not offer to immediately resign but said that "honest conversations and discussions" would take place in "the days ahead." Herring said on Saturday that it was "no longer possible" for Northam to serve as governor after his blackface admission. Also on Wednesday, he resigned as the co-chairman of the Democratic Attorneys General Association.

Go deeper

GOP Sen. Rob Portman will not run for re-election, citing "partisan gridlock"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced Monday he will not run for a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2022, citing "partisan gridlock."

Why it matters: It's a surprise retirement from a prominent Senate Republican who easily won re-election in 2016 and was expected to do so again in 2022, creating an open Senate seat in a red-leaning swing state.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
41 mins ago - Economy & Business

Merger Monday has been overrun by SPACs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Five companies this morning announced plans to go public via reverse mergers with SPACs, at an aggregate market value of more than $15 billion. And there might be even more by the time you read this.

The bottom line: SPAC merger activity hasn't peaked. If anything, it's just getting started.

2 hours ago - Health

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

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