House Republicans, who just blocked a vote on the federal Equal Rights Amendment on Thursday, could mitigate any damage that did among women voters by supporting the two women who have accused Fairfax.

But if the hearing resembles a partisan attack against Fairfax, just the second African American to hold statewide office, it could motivate black voters to turn out heavily for Democrats, erasing fallout from recent revelations that the other two Democratic top officeholders, Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, wore blackface as part of costumes decades ago.

Democratic lawmakers slammed the notion of public hearings held by their GOP colleagues.

“Due process is absolutely needed,” Del. Lashrecse Aird (D-Petersburg). “It should be by a law enforcement agency and not by individuals who will be on the ballot in November.”