Monday, 26 June, 2017

Gianforte Wins Montana Vote Despite 'Body Slam' Charge

Greg Gianforte campaigning with Donald Trump Jr Greg Gianforte campaigning with Donald Trump Jr. Bobby Caina Calvan AP
Steve Phelps | 27 May, 2017, 02:16

On CBS' Late Show, Stephen Colbert touched on the special congressional election saying Gianforte may or may not win but "he will definitely win the next Wrestlemania".

Gianforte will fill the seat vacated by former representative Ryan Zinke who President Donald Trump picked to head up the Department of the Interior. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle refused to endorse either candidate.

Audio released by the Guardian indicated that Jacobs was asking Gianforte a question about health care, when the alleged incident took place.

With 77 percent of precincts reporting, Gianforte garnered 50.6 percent of the vote, defeating Democratic candidate Rob Quist who took 43.5 percent, according to the Associated Press.

"Montana sent a strong message tonight", he said, "that we want a congressman who will work with president Trump to make America and Montana great again". That's the Montana way. "Last night I made a mistake", he said, adding: "I'm sorry, Mr Ben Jacobs".

"There's never a time a physical altercation should occur with the press, or just between human beings", Ryan told reporters in Washington on Thursday.

Asked if assaulting a reporter is appropriate behavior, California Rep. Duncan Hunter said, "Of course not". "I know that Montanans will hold Mr. Gianforte accountable", Quist said Thursday night.

And that brings us to our final question about Montana: What does Democrats' almost-victory here say about their momentum heading into the 2018 midterm elections? "Last night I made a mistake".

Yet during his victory speech on Thursday night after the polls in Montana had closed, Gianforte issued an apology for the incident. The majority of voters had already cast ballots by mail before the incident. It also suggests that, despite reports of Trump's lack of popularity, Republicans are still capable of winning statewide office - something that could worry Democrats looking to retake the House and Senate in 2018.

While the outcome saves Republicans from an embarrassing loss that would have been viewed as a rebuke of Trump, Gianforte created new problems for the party.

Gianforte, a technology entrepreneur, defeated Quist to continue the GOP's two-decade stronghold on the congressional seat. "Ben Jacobs", he said to the reporter from The Guardian.

Three of Montana's biggest newspapers rescinded their pro-Gianforte endorsements.

While Quist, a first-time candidate and folk musician, was able to tap into grass-roots liberal energy to raise more than $6 million, Gianforte benefited from massive outside spending from GOP groups attacking Quist. After the alleged assault, she said she wouldn't have changed her vote.

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