Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, has appeared to blame a potential 2021 state rival for a woman’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in 2004. Fairfax, 39, has entered the spotlight as the possible successor to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is facing calls to resign over a racist photo from a 1984 medical-school yearbook. Speaking late Monday night, Fairfax said: “Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this smear comes out?” He went on to hint that Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond and a potential rival to Fairfax for the 2021 Democratic nomination for governor, may have played a role, praising a reporter who asked if Stoney might be behind the public accusation. Stoney later said: “The insinuation is 100 percent not true, and frankly it’s offensive.” The Fairfax accusation deepens a political crisis in Virginia three days after an image surfaced from Northam’s yearbook page showing a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam denies he is either of the two people in the photo.