Montana GOP candidate charged with assault after 'body-slamming' reporter
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 13:01
For those in Montana, a bastion of conservatism where Republicans have held the state's lone congressional seat for 23 years, Gianforte has been a familiar figure for years, primarily as a businessman.
Ben Jacobs was trying to ask Gianforte about healthcare, according to an audio tape captured by the British newspaper's correspondent. Jacobs, who had been covering the race for weeks, spent Wednesday evening telling and retelling the story from a hospital, for media outlets and for the police. "I know he has his own version and I'm sure he's gonna have more to say, but there's no call for this". As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and exhausted of this!" They are all aware of what happened last night between Gianforte and journalist, Ben Jacobs, of the guardian. "Get the hell out of here".
The Democratic governor of Montana accused Republican Greg Gianforte of lying on Thursday, as news of Gianforte's attack on a journalist threatens to derail his campaign in a special election a congressional seat.
Gianforte and Quist, a cowboy-hat-wearing musician, are competing for the state's sole House seat, left vacant when Trump appointed GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke to serve as Interior secretary. As Jacobs meant to record Gianforte's answer to his health care questions, he recorded the entire incident.
Mr Gianforte has until 7 June to appear in a county court.
Greg Gianforte was cited for grabbing a reporter by the throat and throwing him to the ground in his campaign office Wednesday night.
Gianforte is running against Democrat Rob Quist.
The incident began after Jacobs pressed Gianforte for comment on the Congressional Budget Office's recently released evaluation of the American Health Care Act. The statement continues: "Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face".
"Speaker [of the House Paul] Ryan and the National Republican Campaign Committee should not waste another minute before publicly denouncing their candidate and apologizing for the millions of dollars they spend on his behalf", spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement, according to the Hill. On the eve of the election, Gianforte apparently made a decision to commit felony assault on a reporter asking him questions.
A Democratic upset in the race would set off alarms for Republicans already anxious about Trump's unpopularity and the healthcare issue.
Republicans have hammered Quist with nearly $5 million in ads, hitting him for property tax liens and unpaid debts.
Gianforte's defeat would also give Democrats momentum heading into two special House elections for Republican-held seats next month, in Georgia and SC. Republicans had to sweat out a closer-then-expected special House election win in conservative Kansas last month. He's the one who rode a horse to work.
Despite the last-minute arrest, there is still a good chance that those watching the live results of the 2017 Montana special election could still see Greg Gianforte pull off a victory.