A Republican Politician Says This Woman Can’t Cover His Campaign Unless She’s Accompanied by a Man

State Rep. Robert Foster justifies his action by the “Billy Graham Rule.”

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

A Republican state representative running to succeed Gov. Phil Bryant as governor of Mississippi told Larrison Campbell, a female political reporter with Mississippi Today, that the only way she could ride along with his campaign would be if she were accompanied by a man. Rep. Robert Foster said that his rivals could snap a compromising photo of him with Campbell to suggest that he was involved in an extramarital affair.

Campbell wrote that Mississippi Today had requested ride-alongs with each of the three Republican candidates for governor before the Republican primary on August 6. “Bill Waller, a former state supreme court chief justice, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves agreed to ride alongs with Mississippi Today reporter Adam Ganucheau,” Campbell wrote. “The other candidate—state Rep. Robert Foster, (R-Hernando)—declined, however, because I am a woman.”

When Campbell offered to wear her press badge at all times in order to make her role clear, Foster still said no, according to Mississippi Today.

“My editor and I agreed the request was sexist and an unnecessary use of resources given this reporter’s experience covering Mississippi politics,” Campbell wrote.

After Campbell published her account of the incident, Foster defiantly took to Twitter, saying that his refusal to appear in public with a woman was “out of respect for my wife.”

In another tweet, he further justified his decision by his devout Christianity. 

Foster is considered an underdog in the race for the Republican nomination, with Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves leading in the polls.

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.