Mississippi GOP gubernatorial candidate promotes 'My truck. My rules' bumper stickers after denying female reporter's access
© Robert Foster/Facebook

The campaign for a Mississippi Republican gubernatorial candidate who barred a female reporter’s solo access to accompany him on a ride-along because she’s a woman said Thursday it is selling bumper stickers with the phrase he used in his defense: “My truck. My rules.”

State Rep. Robert Foster, one of three GOP gubernatorial candidates in the state, denied Mississippi Today reporter Larrison Campbell’s request to shadow him on a 15-hour trip.

His campaign manager telling her that a “male colleague would need to accompany her” because the “optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair.”

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Foster told The Hill that, before deciding to run, he and his wife also committed to following the "Billy Graham rule" to "avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage."

"I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these same views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife, character, and our Christian faith," Foster said. "We don’t mind granting Ms. Campbell an interview. We just want it to be in an appropriate and professional setting that wouldn’t provide opportunities for us to be alone."

Foster later doubled down on his remarks, saying “in my truck, we go by my rules. And that's my rule."

A second Mississippi GOP gubernatorial candidate, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., has since said he also won’t meet alone with a woman because "appearances are important."

“I just think in this day and time, appearances are important and transparency’s important, and people need to have the comfort of what’s going on in government between employees and people,” he told Campbell in a video tweeted Monday. “I just think it’s common sense.” 

The third GOP candidate, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, didn’t comment on whether he had a similar rule, telling The Associated Press that "we’re not going to engage with a statement on the whole Billy Graham thing."

The Republican primary election will take place on Aug. 6.