Published: Fri, May 26, 2017
Business | By Pat Ferguson

Top Republican demands apology for assault on reporter


On Wednesday, Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for a House seat in a special election Thursday, was charged in Montana with misdemeanor assault for allegedly grabbing Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by the neck and slamming him to the ground after Jacobs asked him about the GOP health care bill.

A race that was expected to be a test of President Donald Trump's political clout ahead of next year's US congressional elections was jolted by the charge against Gianforte, a wealthy technology executive who had urged voters to send him to Congress to help fellow Republican Trump.

Montana voters went to the polls Thursday to choose their only U.S. House representative, in a race marred by an assault charge filed the eve before the election against Gianforte. We shouldn't be surprised, then, when a Trump acolyte like Greg Gianforte decides to use force to try to shut up one of these "enemies".

Polls close at 8 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET).

"We're pulling our endorsement of Greg Gianforte" said the headline in the Billings Gazette.

Still, the prospects that the altercation would tip the race to Quist were complicated by Montana's early-voting tradition: More than half the estimated total ballots had already been returned.

When Jacobs says there wont be time, Gianforte says “Just-” and there is a crashing sound. "That is the Montana way".

"I'm sick and exhausted of you guys", Gianforte said in the recording. I am not proud of what happened. "I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I'm sorry".

"The Guardian is deeply appalled by how our reporter, Ben Jacobs, was treated in the course of doing his job as a journalist while reporting on the Montana special election, "Guardian U.S. editor Lee Glendinning wrote in an email to the Tribune". Pelosi called Gianforte "a wannabe Trump".

"I've always considered myself more of a work horse than a show horse", he said.

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The recent momentum of Quist's candidacy in the special election was widely viewed by Democrats as a potential referendum on the Trump administration, which faces its own degrees of criticism, particularly given that Montana is a state that Trump won by 20 percentage points in the November election.

Quist, 69, delivered a concession speech to supporters in Missoula, noting the energy and grassroots activism that his campaign helped generate during the sprint toward Thursday's election.

This is a win, the new congressman, said for all Montanans.

"I think one thing we can say is that your voices were definitely heard in this election", he said.

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. You must continue to be involved.

"Tonight Montanans are sending a wake-up call to the Washington, D.C. establishment", Gianforte said.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin is a donor to Gianforte's campaign. "I do not think this is acceptable behavior". "I don't know that he quite has the fortitude to weather this and pull it off".

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Giaforte led with 50.8 percent to Quist's 43.4 percent.

However, said students like Abby Emerson, a junior, "A donation is great for the school, but the school needs to make clear they don't agree with his actions and what he does".

Stevens identified himself as a constitutionalist, and while he voted for Gianforte he also supported Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Quist had never run for office before.

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