A political candidate in Mississippi has refused to allow a female reporter to cover his campaign unless she was accompanied by a male chaperone.

Robert Foster, 36, a Republican career politician, is running for the governorship of the southern US state.

Larrison Campbell, a female political journalist, was assigned by Mississippi Today, a local news website, to write about him.

She asked to accompany Mr Foster on a 15-hour campaign trip, but was told by his campaign staff that Mississippi Today would have to send a male colleague with her.

Ms Campbell said she was told that "the optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair."

The campaign simply "can’t risk it," she said she was told.

The journalist added: "My editor and I agreed the request was sexist."

Mr Foster responded on Twitter: "As I anticipated, the liberal left lost their minds over the fact I choose not to be alone with another woman.

"They can’t believe, that even in 2019, someone still values their relationship with their wife and upholds their Christian Faith."

He wrote that he and his wife followed the "Billy Graham Rule," a practice attributed to the late evangelical preacher not to spend time alone with any woman other than his wife.

Mr Foster’s position was reminiscent of Vice President Mike Pence, who has stated in interviews he would not eat alone with a woman other than his wife.

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