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Prison inmates run their election campaigns from behind bars

Two lawmakers, currently in jail, are hoping to be elected while in prison. For one, it is likely he will begin his term in office from behind bars.

Texas lawmaker Ron Reynolds, a Democrat Texas State Representative seeking re-election, is currently imprisoned in Montgomery County Jail. He was convicted of five misdemeanors related to misusing his personal injury law practice, KPRC reported.

Ron Reynolds

He is expected to win because he already won the primary election for his party, and there are no Republican candidates running against him, according to The Texas Tribune and KPRC.

He was first convicted in 2015, but he managed to stay out of jail for a few years while appealing his cases. After all his appeals were denied, Reynolds turned himself in on Sept. 7 to serve a one-year sentence, but he did not resign from his government position, according to The Texas Tribune and KPRC. State law does not require someone convicted of misdemeanor crimes to resign a government position.

KPRC reported that Reynolds is no longer permitted to practice law under the state bar. KPRC also asked the the deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party how Reynolds plans to lead his constituents from jail.

“That is a question for the candidate himself,” Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia responded.

The next session of the Texas Legislature will proceed in January. Reynolds could very likely still be in prison at that time, but the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said Reynolds’s time in prison could be shortened.

“The sheriff can have him serve day-for-day, he can give him credit for two days for every day that he serves or three days,” said Joel Daniels, the main prosecutor at Reynolds’s trial, The Texas Tribune reported. “It’s really just on the discretion of the sheriff and it depends on Mr. Reynolds’s behavior.”

Candidate for US Congress in Jail

A Georgia candidate for Congress, also a Democrat, is serving a jail sentence for drunken driving. Steven Foster was sentenced in August to six months in prison. He won the primary election because he was the only Democrat to run. He isn’t expected to defeat Republican incumbent Tom Graves in the election, The Associated Press reported.


Steven Foster

Foster will remain on the ballet despite being in prison unless he voluntarily chooses not to. In Georgia, DUI is counted as a misdemeanor until the fourth conviction.

“Ultimately, it’s his decision whether he decides to withdraw,” said Dan Lovingood, the 14th District chairman for the state Democratic Party, via The Associated Press.

Foster was pulled over on Sept. 23, for driving with his headlights off. A field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test convinced police he was intoxicated.

Video for his arrest recorded him saying “Eleven years I served this county. I hate this county. I prayed to God that he’d curse it. And guess what? He did. I saw it hit and cursed. I saw people laid off right and left, white people,” said Foster in the police dashcam video, obtained by Daily Citizen-News.

Foster was also in the news after the media found out that he owns a nudist retreat in northern Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.