A white lawmaker said he gave watermelons to people in his central Mississippi House district, and his black challenger said doing so promoted racial stereotypes.

First-term Democratic Rep. Brad Oberhousen of Byram told The Clarion-Ledger that he gave the melons to several people for their Fourth of July gatherings.

Oberhousen said he has given away fresh produce for years. He said his supporters are black and white and they don’t view his melons as having any racial connotations.

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