Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (L), Gov. Ralph Northam (C) and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Photos: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post; Alex Edelman; Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia's three top ranking state officials — all Democrats — have each become embroiled in scandals over the course of the last week.

Catch up quick: Gov. Ralph Northam is facing calls for his resignation after a photo emerged on his 1984 medical school yearbook page featuring one person in blackface and another person in a KKK costume. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is denying allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. And Attorney General Mark Herring admitted Wednesday that he dressed in blackface in 1980, but called it a "onetime occurrence."

Why it matters: If Northam were to step down, Fairfax would be next in line to succeed him, followed by Herring.

The intrigue: Next in the governorship's line of succession would be Kirk Cox, the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates — a Republican.

  • During the 2018 midterms, the race for the 94th district of the House of Delegates was so close that after a recount and several legal challenges, it had to be determined by a random drawing, NBC News reports.
  • Republican incumbent David Yancey won the drawing, which — in addition to handing him the victory — gave Republicans the extra seat needed to maintain a narrow 51-49 majority.
  • Without the random drawing going in the GOP's favor, it's possible that Cox would not currently be serving as speaker.

The bottom line: As NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald points out, it's unlikely that all three of the state's top Democratic officials would resign at once and hand the governorship to a Republican. But even so, Virginia's Democrats are grappling with a trio of scandals with no apparent conclusion in sight, and it's not out of the question that a random drawing could come back to haunt them.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.