Congressional candidate charged after reporter says he was 'body-slammed'

House Speaker Paul Ryan is calling for the Republican candidate in Montana's special House election to apologise after allegedly attacking the reporter and getting charged with assault.

"Yes! You just broke my glasses", Jacobs replied, according to the audio recording.

Ben Jacobs tried to get Gianforte to answer a question about the healthcare bill when the candidate allegedly exploded on him.

Pelosi also said Gianforte is a "wannabe-Trump".

On the tape, which was being reviewed by police Wednesday evening, Gianforte does not ask Jacobs to lower the recorder.

And while Gianforte was hesitant to embrace then-candidate Trump during that contest, he has been closely embracing the president this go-round, co-opting his familiar "drain the swamp" phrase and pledging to go to Washington to work with the president.

"I am sick and exhausted of you guys", Mr. Gianforte barks. "The last guy that came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here".

"Unfortunately, it's kind of a sign of the times with people running for office and the press", said Representative Roger Williams, a Republican.

And Gianforte may well win the election today, not just because Montana is a GOP-leaning state (though it now has a liberal Democratic governor, Scott Bullock), but because almost two-thirds of the likely electorate has already cast their ballots through early voting.

While national GOP figures were mostly silent about the incident on Wednesday night, Jacobs said he has received "very supportive" messages from Republicans and was not seeking "to tar anybody or anything with this".

Nathaniel Trumper, who voted for Gianforte, said he did not trust the published accounts of the alleged assault.

Gianforte, a software company founder and donor to conservative organizations who lost a race for the governor's mansion previous year, faces singer-songwriter Democrat Rob Quist to fill the state's at-large congressional seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Quist declined to comment on the incident.

Republican Greg Gianforte has not appeared in public since he was charged with misdemeanor assault late Wednesday.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Thursday that under Montana law, assaults that don't result in serious injuries or involve a weapon are considered misdemeanors.

At a diner in Helena, Montana, some customers expressed dismay over the incident.

"I do not think this is acceptable behavior, but the choice will be made by the people of Montana", Ryan added.

"He took me to the ground", Jacobs told the Guardian.

Several Montana voters like that Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed a Guardian reporter, according to local reports.

In an audio recording posted by the Guardian, the reporter asks the congressional candidate about the GOP's health care bill, which was just evaluated hours earlier by the Congressional Budget Office. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

"It's unfortunate that this aggressive behaviour from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ", the statement said.

  • Zachary Reyes