Montana special election: Will Gianforte give Democrats a beating?
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 12:06
Gianforte's victory is a boost for Republicans, who are anxious Trump's political stumbles and the unpopularity of the healthcare bill passed by the House will hurt their chances of holding on to a 24-seat House majority in next year's elections.
In Montana, where more than 200,000 of the 700,000 eligible voters have already cast early absentee ballots, it was unclear how Gianforte's blow-up would affect the race.
Gianforte has disappeared. He was last seen driving away from the incident and cancelled all appearances Thursday. Democrats had hoped Quist, a musician and first-time candidate, could have capitalized on a wave of activism following President Donald Trump's election.
But Alicia Acuna, a reporter from the usually conservative Fox News, was an eyewitness.
In addition, Gianforte may be facing a crime, but it doesn't appear to have made him lose support.
Gianforte apologized in his victory speech: "When you make a mistake you have to own up to it. last night I made a mistake, and I took an action that I can not take back".
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the GOP House candidate in Montana charged with assaulting a reporter is "a wannabe Trump". FILE - In this March 18, 2017 file photo, Congressional candidate Rob Quist meets with supporters during the annual Mansfield Metcalf Celebration dinner hosted by the state's Democratic Party in Helena, Mont.
Jacobs had reportedly asked Gianforte about the Republican healthcare plan.
"We'll talk to you about that later", Gianforte said, to which Jacobs replied, "Yeah, but there's not going to be time". ( The CBO found that 23 million fewer Americans would have health insurance under the bill than if Obamacare was left in place.) Jacobs was trying to pin GIanforte down shortly after the CBO report came out on Wednesday.
There's been plenty of action in the Big Sky State before Wednesday's bombshell revelation that one of the candidates allegedly body slammed a reporter, but if you're wondering about the basics of the race, CNN is here for you.
After Gianforte told Jacobs to ask his spokesman, there's sound of a scuffle and Gianforte shouting.
House Speaker Ryan said at his weekly press conference that Gianforte should apologize. And if Gianforte, er, body slams Quist and wins in a landslide (as one recent poll suggests is possible), they can retcon the margin into a talking point about how feral Republican voters rewarded Gianforte for his assault on Jacobs.
Gianforte had been favored to win in a state where his party has held the lone House seat for two decades and where fellow Republican Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.
Gianforte was later cited on charges of misdemeanor assault.
The victory will calm Republicans who had grown restless with the rapidly tightening race in what had been a safe Republican seat for years.
The charges themselves or even a conviction would not prevent Gianforte from serving in the House.