Two Democrats Sitting in Jail Seek Political Office

The worn bars in the cell block are seen at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay, August 11, 2011. Seventy-seven years ago on August 11, 1934, a group of federal prisoners classified as "most dangerous" arrived at the new high-security penitentiary designed …

Two Democrats running for political office who are convicted of crimes may be celebrating their electoral victories behind bars should they win their elections.

A Democrat Texas state representative running for re-election and a Georgia Democrat running for Congress are continuing to run for their respective offices, despite serving time in jail for their respective crimes.

Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City), who was convicted in 2015 of multiple misdemeanor charges for illegally soliciting clients to his law practice, was sentenced to one year behind bars before being released early on an appellate bond.

But the court rejected his appeal, and a judge ordered Reynolds to go back to jail. He is also disbarred from practicing law.

Even though Reynolds has a misdemeanor conviction on his record, Texas state law does not prohibit those with misdemeanor convictions to run for political office.

Reynolds, who was endorsed by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and is expected to win re-election because is uncontested, does not intend on quitting his campaign anytime soon.

“Rep. Reynolds has full confidence that his experienced staff will be able to handle any immediate needs of his constituents, during his 4-6 month absence,” Reynolds’ campaign said in a statement.

The other candidate, Georgia Democrat Steve Foster, is serving a six-month sentence in county jail for driving under the influence.

A video from Foster’s arrest last year that went viral after authorities released it in August showed the Democratic candidate trashing his district.

Foster is running against incumbent Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) in Georgia’s 14th congressional district. Even though Graves has won his district in the past by a wide margin—in 2012 he won with 75 percent of the vote—Foster vowed to carry on his campaign from his prison cell.

“Look, I’m not withdrawing,” Foster told the Associated Press in a recent interview.


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