Lawmaker's watermelon giveaway was racist, challenger says
JACKSON - A white lawmaker says he gave watermelons to people in his central Mississippi House district, and his black challenger says doing so promoted racial stereotypes.
First-term Democratic Rep. Brad Oberhousen of Byram tells The Clarion-Ledger that he gave the melons to several people for their Fourth of July gatherings.
Oberhousen says he has given away fresh produce for years. He says his supporters are black and white and they don't view his melons as having any racial connotations.
His opponent in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary, Jarvis Dortch of Jackson, says he has spoken to voters who felt insulted that Oberhousen posted Facebook photos of himself giving watermelons to black people. Dortch says Oberhousen has deleted the photos.
Oberhousen and Dortch, who are both attorneys, are running in a majority-black district.