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Virginia Democrats’ scandals puts spotlight on GOP speaker

February 13, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — With Virginia’s top Democrats mired in scandal, the fourth man in line to become governor is keeping a low profile even as his status rises.

Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox could play a key role in determining the fates of the three highest-ranking Democrats in state government. And their misfortune could help strengthen Cox’s shaky hold on a Republican majority in a state that’s been tilting blue under President Donald Trump.

The soft-spoken retired public school teacher has called on all three top Democrats to resign but kept his focus largely on the more mundane work of getting a state budget and other legislation passed.

The speaker, who is white, began his teaching career at a predominantly black middle school in Petersburg and enjoys close ties with several black lawmakers.

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