Inconclusive report benefits Northam as he works to restore image

By  | 

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Rewind to February when Governor Ralph Northam first apologized for the racist photo on his medical school yearbook page, and then said it wasn't his picture.

Northam said he hoped to regain the trust of Virginians and continue to lead the state.

In the weeks since, the Governor has resumed his public schedule.

A news conference touting I-81 improvements, legislation declaring Virginia's public schools tobacco free and a plan to extend broadband to rural areas are just some of the issues he has highlighted.

Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton predicts that will continue.

"He's taken some actions to show he's still governing," Denton said Wednesday afternoon, "and so he's really doing image restoration strategically well at this point."

Denton says to look for a governor focused on nuts and bolts, emphasizing policy over politics.

"And certainly that's where I think his forte can be. He had a reputation before he ran of being able to reach across the aisle. He was very well-liked," Denton said. "As long as he stays focused on issues and policies he can actually do well in the next two to three years from a legislative perspective."

That doesn't mean Northam can revive his political prospects.

He will remain toxic, Denton said, if he tries to take an active and public role in the fall campaigns.