GOP candidate who scuffled with reporter wins Montana election
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 23:41
Gianforte's weaknesses were most apparent Wednesday night when he was charged with misdemeanor assault for throwing a reporter to the ground.
The race was thrust into the national spotlight in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night after Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs described being "body-slammed" by the GOP candidate, and a Fox News crew who witnessed the incident said the former technology and software executive "grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him".
In his victory speech Gianforte apologized to the reporter, telling a cheering crowd of supporters he had "learned a lesson".
He emerged only at his victory celebration on Thursday night, where he said he accepted responsibility for the incident.
"When you make a mistake you have to own up to it, that's the Montana way", Gianforte said. I should not have responded the way I did. According to the Associated Press, with 98 percent of the vote in, Gianforte was winning 50 percent to Quist's 44 percent. We wouldn't condone it if it happened in a home or even a late-night bar fight. Donald Trump Jr. campaigned with Gianforte in the weeks prior to the election, and Vice President Mike Pence recorded robocalls for the candidate.
Before a ballroom full of cheering supporters at the Hilton Garden Inn in his hometown of Bozeman, Gianforte said he's going to Washington, D.C., to "drain the swamp and fight for Montana families".
Jacobs also captured the incident in an audio recording, in which Gianforte can be heard yelling at the reporter. Ben Jacobs. I want to apologize to the FOX News team and I am sorry to each of you for my actions.
It had been unclear if Gianforte's assault charge would impact the race.
Commentators debated furiously whether Gianforte's attack would affect the election, given 37 percent of registered voters had already cast absentee ballots, and 66 percent of issued absentee ballots were already returned.
Still, Republicans now have to answer for the fact that one of their own elected officials is now facing assault charges. "For that, I'm sorry". And we couldn't accept it from a man who is running to become Montana's lone Congressional representative. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has also denounced Gianforte's actions.
Quist said he was "sure that Montanans will hold Mr. Gianforte accountable". He echoed the Republican Party mantras of cutting taxes, beefing up the military and securing the country's borders.
Gianforte's actions do not represent the state of Montana or the values of Americans, Bullock said, even if the Republican wins the election. Though Our Revolution endorsed him, and Sanders spent the weekend before the vote campaigning for him across Montana, Rob Quist is no Bernie Sanders. He stuck to issues that have broad appeal in Montana, such as maintaining and improving access to public land. He tried to turn those negatives into positives by saying his story illustrated problems many Montanans face because of high health care costs.
Libertarian Mark Wicks had 6% the vote with 17,655 votes.