Gianforte wins US House race day after charged with assault

Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after being declared the victor at a election night party for Montana's special House election against Democrat Rob Quist at the Hilton Garden Inn on May 25, 2017, in Bozeman, Montana.

Gianforte, who defeated Democrat Rob Quist 50-44 percent in a special House election on Thursday, apologized to a reporter he charged with manhandling the night before at his campaign headquarters.

"Donald Trump is his model", Pelosi said. The most notable moment from Gianforte's victory celebration was his apology to journalist Ben Jacobs, who he allegedly "body slammed" on the eve of the election.

A number of Montana newspapers withdrew their endorsement of Gianforte after the incident, but neither that nor the incident affected the outcome.

The altercation didn't stop him from capturing 50 percent of the vote against opponent Rob Quist's 44 percent, according to the most recent tally from Decision Desk HQ, a favorable result that hardly seemed in doubt after nearly two-thirds of the ballots were cast in early voting in the GOP-friendly state.

During his victory speech, Gianforte said that, "when you make a mistake you have to own up to it". He ended up winning the special election, but before that was determined, late-night hosts weighed in on the alleged assault. "I'm sorry", he said.

A Fox News team of reporters also later backed up Jacobs' account of what happened, but the alleged attack appeared to have little effect on the election, where more than half of the registered Montana voters were estimated to have already returned their ballots by the time news of the incident broke.

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

"When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it", he said.

Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault and could face additional, more serious charges once prosecutors review the evidence.

Gianforte's campaign issued a statement saying the incident took place when the candidate was giving a separate interview in a private office. Quist: a first-time candidate and Montana folk singer who'd amassed moderate Montana fame in the 1970s as a member of the Mission Mountain Wood Band.

Gianforte's campaign was boosted by rallies featuring Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr. plus millions of dollars in ads by Republican groups.

In an audio recording posted by The Guardian, an agitated Gianforte brushes off Jacobs' question - right before there's a giant crashing noise and the apparent sound of the two men scuffling.

"The Guardian's Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and began asking badgering questions", the statement said.

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