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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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