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Robert Foster's Campaign Quagmire

Robert Franklin

Posted on July 11, 2019 22:54

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Robert Foster's falling behind other GOP hopefuls for the Republican nomination for governor of Mississippi. The last few days are not doing him any favors.

Robert Foster is currently battling for the Republican nod in the 2019 Mississippi gubernatorial race, placing a distant third out of three in both polling and campaign financing. His run is on the skids and a recent controversy involving himself and a female reporter could have just dealt his campaign a fatal blow.

Mississippi Today reporter Larrison Campbell, who has interviewed Foster multiple times, and actually broke the story that Foster was running for governor, requested to spend a day shadowing the young Republican candidate on the campaign trail. The publication has made these requests to all GOP candidates running for governor of Mississippi. Campbell reached out to Foster directly.

Colton Robison, Foster's campaign manager, reached back out to her: "Hey, I have a weird request. We're going to need you to bring a male colleague along."

Stunned by the request, Campbell and her editor at Mississippi Today tried to broker a compromise that didn't require Campbell be accompanied by a man. The campaign refused, so instead of Larrison Campbell writing about Robert Foster's campaign and his goals of governing the Magnolia State, she wrote a first-person piece about the exchange.

According to Campbell, Robison told her that the Foster campaign believed the optics of Foster being seen with her could lead one of his opponents to orchestrate a smear campaign insinuating Foster was having an extramarital affair. Campbell rebutted that the only reason "people will think [she's] having a (improper) relationship with [Foster] is because [she's] a woman," to which Robison replied the campaign simply "can't risk it," because "perception is everything" and they "are so close to the (August 6) primary."

The exchange has Campbell and others accusing Foster's campaign of sexism.

Hiding behind his wife and his religion, Foster has doubled-down on his position, dismissing accusations of sexism and instead, categorizing the controversy as his effort to avoid "an awkward situation," all while blasting those criticizing him as a "liberal left" who have "lost their minds." Foster is also citing the "Billy Graham Rule," which Foster defines as avoiding any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise his marriage.

The optics of this quagmire in which Foster has found himself empirically do not look good. A man like Foster, who said "perception is reality in this world," should know that and should be sensitive to that, even if it risks contradiction. Instead, he's hardened and instead of trying to calmly navigate the issue and explain his position in a way that justifies it to himself and his detractors, he's using Twitter in a vain attempt to block the criticism and blame those criticizing him for the political maelstrom he's created.

But that's the M.O. of Republicans nowadays. Blame their own pile of excrement on others, call them "leftists," "liberals," and accuse them of insanity, then play that partisan pissing-contest all the way to their next office.

Or in Foster's case, a last place finish to two candidates not dogged by accusations of sexism.

Robert Franklin

Posted on July 11, 2019 22:54

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A Mississippi candidate who refused to meet alone with a woman says he’s following the “Billy Graham Rule” — and he’s not...

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