Gianforte had to silence his crowd of supporters to apologize.
President Donald Trump praised the victory of Greg Gianforte on Friday, calling his triumph in a special Montana election - a day after being charged with assaulting a journalist - "a great win". "I'm not proud of what happened". When the votes were tallied Thursday night, Republican Greg Gianforte edged Democratic challenger Rob Quist by a seven point margin (189,473 Republican votes, 166,483 Democratic votes).
Conservative and Republican groups outspent Democratic and liberal groups by about 7-to-1 in the campaign, although Quist said he raised more than $6 million for his campaign - more than Gianforte's. Approached by Ben Jacobs of The Guardian and pressed about the Congressional Budget Office score for the American Health Care Act, Gianforte reportedly grabbed Jacobs by the throat and slammed him to the ground, breaking his glasses. Gianforte apologized to the reporter in his victory speech Thursday night.
CNN was reporting that there had already been a lot of early voting-before the incident-but had also reported that the election was expected to have tightened, perhaps to within two or three percentage points.
Gianforte had aligned himself with Trump.
New York Magazine cited sources close to KECI's news director, Julie Weindel, who told NBC News, "The person that tweeted [Jacobs] and was allegedly body slammed is a reporter for a politically biased publication". Or perhaps he feared acknowledging his assault before polls closed would cost him voters.
But after he was declared the victor, Gianforte apologized for the attack. When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it.
President Trump during his trip to Saudi Arabia
Before a ballroom full of cheering supporters at the Hilton Garden Inn in his hometown of Bozeman, Gianforte said late Thursday night he's going to Washington, D.C., to "drain the swamp and fight for Montana families".
"Last night I learned a lesson".
The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Steve Stivers, issued a statement hailing Gianforte's win, as well as his apology. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Donald Trump Jr. all campaigned in favor of Gianforte during the course of the special election.
Stivers' Democratic counterpart, Rep.
The assault allegation didn't seem to faze voters.
Prior to his assault charge, Gianforte was significantly supported by Trump's inner circle. "That was a thing, a real thing that happened, and we still said, 'Yeah, he should be president'". He surprised Democrats by nabbing his party's nomination at its convention in March.
Rural Voters Trended Slightly Toward the Democratic Candidate. Bernie Sanders, Quist had never run for office before. Both candidates in the Montana contest were seen as flawed, but Quist in particular was a weak recruit for Democrats.
But Republicans rapidly mounted a wilting attack on the airwaves over Quist's financial troubles, including a history of unpaid taxes and liens.