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

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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.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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