By Kate Feldman

A Mississippi state representative and Republican candidate for governor wouldn't let a female reporter accompany him on a trip unless she brought a man along, and he's blaming his wife.

Mississippi Today columnist Larrison Campbell said she had requested to shadow Robert Foster, along with two other gubernatorial candidates, "to better inform readers" about their campaigns, she wrote in a column Tuesday. But Foster, she said, declined "because I am a woman."

Campbell would only be allowed to ride along on a 15-hour campaign trip if a male coworker joined her, Foster's campaign director told her.

"Perception is everything," Colton Robinson said, according to Campbell. "We are so close to the primary. If (trackers) were to get a picture and they put a mailer out, we wouldn't have time to dispute it. And that's why we have to be careful."

Responding to Campbell's column, Foster stood by his decision.

"Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the 'Billy Graham Rule,' which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage," he tweeted late Tuesday. "I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn't share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife."

In follow-up tweets, he defended his "Christian faith" and attacked the "liberal left."

Vice President Mike Pence has promoted a similar stance, saying he won't eat alone with a woman who isn't his wife.

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