GOP rep: Alleged Montana assault 'unacceptable,' but voters have spoken

Posted June 01, 2017

The race is seen as a test of Trump's political clout ahead of next year's congressional elections.

A few conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, jokingly said about the incident that maybe an attack on a reporter would help any candidate win in Montana.

On Jacobs's audio, Gianforte is not heard asking him to lower his microphone. "That was a thing, a real thing that happened, and we still said, 'Yeah, he should be president'". "Behave. That was outrageous". "But Montanans spoke very clearly".

"I think it shows the people of Montana still support Donald Trump's agenda", Essmann said. National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Rep. Steve Stivers said Gianforte was "totally out of character, but we all make mistakes".

Trump did not say anything further and did not address questions about the fact that Gianforte is now facing misdemeanor charges after assaulting a reporter on Wednesday.

This keeps Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's former seat in the GOP column, and represents another close-but-no-cigar result for Democrats, who are mostly contesting special elections in strong Republican areas where seats are vacated by Trump appointees.

Kelly said there are 114 other Republican-held districts with more favorable partisan makeups for Democrats than the Montana seat.

Montana has just over 699,000 registered voters.

After the altercation, Gianforte's campaign issued a statement blaming the reporter and the candidate stayed out of sight. The election, however, came under intense scrutiny after Gianfonte assaulted a reporter the night before the opening of the polls.

He did mention President Donald Trump in his victory speech, promising to work with the President.

"Ben walked into a room where a local TV crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte, "BuzzFeed reporter Alexis Levinson tweeted".

Two of the state's newspapers rescinded their endorsements of Gianforte, but that may not have had much of an impact since many voters had already cast their ballots in early voting or via absentee ballot. Gianforte's victory preserved the GOP's 24-seat advantage in the House of Representatives. Though Democratic lawmakers had no problem castigating Gianforte for the alleged assault, few Republicans complained about his behavior. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. Gianforte's campaign blamed Jacobs, saying the reporter was being aggressive and grabbed Gianforte.

That, as Jacobs noted Thursday, wasn't true.

With his wife Susan by his side, he also made an apology to the Fox News team that witnessed the incident, and his supporters.