GOP candidate who scuffled with reporter wins Montana election

GOP candidate who scuffled with reporter wins Montana election

This special election to elect a replacement for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as Montana's lone member of the House of Representatives suddenly got a lot more exciting when Gianforte bodyslammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on Wednesday night.

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault after Ben Jacobs, a political correspondent for the USA edition of the Guardian newspaper, said the candidate "body-slammed" him during a campaign event in Bozeman. The wealthy businessman's team released a statement Wednesday night blaming the incident on Jacobs, who was trying to ask Gianforte about his thoughts on the Congressional Budget Office's score of the Republican health care plan.

The campaign in a statement said the altercation was the result of Jacobs' "aggressive behavior", but that account was contradicted by an audio tape of their encounter and three eyewitnesses who work at Fox News.

Mr Gianforte has two weeks to enter a plea to the misdemeanor citation issued by the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, according to Mr Lambert, who said he would likely review the case before then to decide whether it should be treated as a felony offense, which would supersede the current charge.

"Last night I made a mistake, and when you make a mistake, you have to own up to it", Gianforte told a supportive crowd in his victory speech.

"When you make a mistake you have to own up to it, that's the Montana way", Gianforte said. "That's the Montana way". "I took an action I can not take back". I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I am sorry. "Ben Jacobs", Gianforte told an audience of enthusiastic supporters.

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"Greg Gianforte just body-slammed me and broke my glasses", Jacobs tweeted before news of the incident went viral on social media. The latter was the most rational of the objections to Paul Ryan's call for Gianforte to immediately apologize the next morning.

Gianforte is a rich politician who made a fortune in a software business that was sold to Oracle.

Jacobs also captured the incident in an audio recording, in which Gianforte can be heard yelling at the reporter. Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisles condemned Gianforte's actions during press conferences on Thursday.

But at least 260,000 votes had been cast absentee before the incident occurred, and Republicans said Thursday they sensed that the altercation hadn't made much difference - even in the face of intense national, state and even worldwide coverage of the election and alleged assault. Gianforte says he supports the effort to repeal Obamacare but has not backed the Republican bill passed by the House.

Gianforte dropped out of sight after he was cited by police and ignored calls on Thursday by national Republicans for him to apologize to the reporter.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock listens to a reporter's question at the governor's residence in Helena, Mont., on October 11, 2016. Quist declined to comment immediately.

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