Gianforte Wins Montana Vote Despite 'Body Slam' Charge

For the violent incident where witnesses say he grabbed Ben Jacobs by the throat, pushed him to the floor and punched him, Gianfonte was handed a misdemeanor assault charge. Jacobs, a reporter from The Guardian, was grilling Gianforte about the Republican health care bill. Montana newspapers pulled their endorsements of Gianforte, and the Gallatin County sheriff - himself a donor to Gianforte's campaign - charged him with misdemeanor assault.

Gianforte had been silent in the wake of the allegations, with his campaign only releasing a statement claiming that The Guardian's Ben Jacobs had been the aggressor. "That's the Montana way".

During his victory speech, Gianforte addressed the controversy and the assault, saying, "When you make a mistake you have to own up to it".

What drove a millionaire congressional candidate in Montana to physically attack a reporter on Wednesday while shouting, "I'm sick and exhausted of you guys!" And for that, I'm sorry Mr. Shaun Scott, a computer science professor at Carroll College in Helena, voted for Gianforte despite the assault charge because he felt Gianforte would do a better job helping create high technology jobs in Montana.

McDaniel also said Gianforte "was right to apologize" for his behavior on Wednesday.

"However, Jacobs detailed the incident in the back of an ambulance after the alleged attack, telling The Guardian,"[Gianforte] took me to the ground". Gianforte, who was audibly irritated, reportedly body slammed the reporter. Outside Republican groups spent significantly more than their Democratic counterparts - $5.6 million to about $1 million, a fact that might cause progressives to ask why the national party didn't jump in sooner to boost Quist.


And, as voters told reporters from Montana Public Radio as they went to the polls Thursday, they didn't necessarily see the altercation between Gianforte and Jacobs as a disqualifier.

Montana has traditionally been a "Red State" in presidential elections, but it's not impossible for Democrats to win in the state. President Donald Trump, 70, won Montana in the 2016 Election by over 20 points, so Democrats, despite losing this raise, are touting the closeness of the race as moral victory.

Gianforte campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said the candidate was in a private office giving a TV interview when Jacobs entered without permission. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Gianforte was a "wannabe Trump", citing the president's language and behaviour.

"I think he wailed on me once or twice", Jacobs continued.

Most of the Montana voters had already made their pick via early voting, with more than 250,000 vote-by-mail ballots being cast a day ahead of the election.


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