By Owen FitzGerald/ Capital News Service
Despite controversies around the Capitol, Virginia legislators and lobbyists met on the basketball court to raise money for cancer research, with two notable absences: Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
Both had participated in last year’s fundraising event that raised nearly $35,000 for research at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center.
The games took place in the middle of a troubled week for the Democratic leaders:
• On Friday, a photo surfaced in Northam’s medical school yearbook depicting two individuals, one dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood and the other in blackface.
• On Wednesday, Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Ohio, publicly accused Fairfax of forcing himself on her in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
The 11th annual Capitol Square Classic was held Wednesday evening at the Siegel Center in Richmond — normally home to the VCU men’s and women’s basketball teams. The two games saw the Senate take on the House, and members of the governor’s office were pitted against a team of lobbyists.
Pages from the House and Senate — teenagers who assist legislators during the General Assembly’s session — cheered on their respective teams in front of a crowd of about 200.
This year’s event raised over $32,000 for research.