Many Democrats have since called for Northam to step down, but he's now vowing he'll stay in office. He said an accusation by a second woman that he raped her when they were both students at Duke University in 2000 was "demonstrably false" and has demanded a full investigation.
The latest accusation against Fairfax comes two days after Vanessa Tyson, a 42-year-old political science professor, said publicly that Fairfax sexually assaulted her in a Boston hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Democratic lawmakers from Virginia have called on Fairfax to resign, as have Democratic senators Kirsten Gillibrand of NY and Cory Booker of New Jersey - both 2020 presidential contenders - among others.
Herring - who would become governor if both Northam and Fairfax resign - had previously called on Northam to resign and came forward after rumors about the existence of a blackface photo of him began circulating at the Capitol.
"You have placed your trust in me to lead Virginia forward - and I plan to do that", Northam said.
Virginia Gov. Northam on whether the commonwealth's Attorney General Mark Herring should resign over blackface scandal: "I regret that our attorney general is in this position".
The statement said it was a "premeditated and aggressive" assault and that while Watson and Fairfax had been social friends, they were never involved romantically. "Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass", Northam told CBS "This Morning" co-host Gayle King.
While addressing the controversy over the photo of people in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan robe on his medical school yearbook, Northam said, "Well, it has been a hard week, and you know if you look at Virginia's history, we're now at the 400-year anniversary". Fairfax denied Watson's claims. "There are still some very deep wounds in Virginia, and especially in the area of equity", he said.
Northam said he planned to work for the rest of his term to address issues stemming from inequality, including improving access to health care, housing, and transportation. Northam has also defied calls from practically his entire party to step down.
"That's all due to the Democrats in Virginia, they've done a terrific job - the three Democrats at the top - of making it easier for Republicans to defend Donald Trump", Sabato said. "Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her", the statement reads. The man who wore blackface is leading the charge for this...you just can not make this stuff up.
When asked if he thinks Fairfax should step down, Northam said that is a decision the lieutenant governor must make.
While African American organizations and leaders have condemned the past actions of Northam, with many calling for his resignation, the recent poll suggests that the majority of African Americans in the state disagree.