Until just a few days ago, Virginia’s Democrat candidate for governor, Ralph Northam, was running with Justin Fairfax as his lieutenant governor. I don’t pretend to know much about Virginia politics, and, in fact, even those who pretend to get the state wrong quite often. The problem, of course, is that Virginia is two states. South of the Rappahannock, you have Virginians (with the exception of the Hampton Roads area). North of the Rappahannock you have carpetbaggers.

On paper, Fairfax looks like a good candidate. He’s a carpetbagger from DC, he’s something of an up-by-the-bootstraps story. Divorced parents. Columbia Law. The right Democrat political connections to be hired as an assistant US Attorney. And, of course, he’s black.

Then the most amazing thing happened.

Just like that, as smoothly as any victim of Josef Stalin was airbrushed out of a May Day Parade photo, Fairfax is gone from the literature. How did that happen?

Why would they delete Fairfax in Northern Virginia? Well, one of the more powerful unions in Virginia favors a pipeline that Justin Fairfax opposes. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been pushed by the unions passing out the palm cards for Northam’s campaign. So the only statewide black Democratic candidate has to be deleted from the palm cards.

Now ask yourself how the Washington Post would cover this if the Republicans had memory holed a black candidate like that?

The Northam campaign says there is nothing to see here. Fairfax was only deleted in the literature used by one set of canvassers:

The union requested a flier that did not include Fairfax, said Brian Petruska, general counsel with the LIUNA Mid-Atlantic Region Organizing Coalition, because Fairfax did not complete their questionnaire and “wasn’t supporting us on the issues,” he said.

Among those issues: Two controversial natural gas pipelines, the EQT Midstream Partners’ Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which are proposed to cross Virginia. Fairfax is among the environmentalist Democratic base in Virginia that’s opposed to the pipelines. Northam does not oppose the pipelines. The union also has endorsed Herring, according to Herring spokesman Adam Zuckerman.

Northam campaign spokesman David Turner downplayed the flier.

“Out of over 3 million pieces of literature printed for the campaign, this literature constituted less than roughly 0.5% of the literature printed, and was only for LIUNA to carry on their canvasses,” he said in a statement. “These doors have also received the regular literature. This means roughly 1.5 million households in Virginia have received the regular literature.

I’m waiting for a GOP candidate to try that excuse.