Republican charged with assault claims win in Montana special election

The ugly incident in a special election in Montana in which Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte allegedly scuffled with a newspaper reporter reflects badly on the temper of the times, as well as of the candidate. "He might have muttered his name once or twice when he was running against me and now he wants to "drain the swamp" and says, 'I want to be with Trump every step of the way, '" said the state's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock on Wednesday - almost seven months after he himself defeated Gianforte. The author of the Fox News account later clarified that Gianforte had one hand on each side of Jacobs's neck, a detail that did not alter her previous retelling.

Gianforte was charged with assaulting Jacobs, a misdemeanor.

Gianforte received the most votes in 45 of Montana's 56 counties - including Cascade and Lake Counties, where he lost to Gov. Steve Bullock in last year's race for governor.

Greg Gianforte celebrates his win.

And instead of Trump, who was embraced by Gianforte and rarely mentioned by Quist in a state where the president remains popular, Republicans said the key national figure in the race was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

I mean, Rush Limbaugh, who called the body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs a "pajama boy reporter", and Laura Ingraham, who wondered who stole Jacobs's lunch money, were around long before Trump got to office. "If you think this election cycle didn't contribute to it, and Donald Trump's rhetoric didn't contribute to it, I'll say it again, you are sadly mistaken", he said on Thursday.

The New York Times reported that he said: "You deserve a congressman who stays out of the limelight and just gets the job done". The Republican multimillionaire Gianforte won Monday.

Republicans and Democrats alike are finding something to be happy about in the special election for Montana's only seat in the House.

Gianforte's campaign issued a statement Wednesday blaming the incident on Jacobs.

Georgia GOP operative Brian Robinson said that unlike the Republican candidates in Kansas and Montana, Handel will not be able to rely exclusively on Trump voters in order to win the 6th District. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

In his victory speech, Gianforte thanked supporters - and addressed the elephant in the room. "It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ".

Afterward, three state newspapers rescinded their endorsements of Gianforte.

Gianforte's attack on Jacobs was shameful enough. Republicans must bring the same sense of moral certainty to the case of Mr. Gianforte - or they must admit they care about these essential principles only when it is politically convenient.

Republican businessman Greg Gianforte from Montana just became the newest member of the House of Representatives, winning a decisive victory on May 25 (the latest count is 50.2% to 44.1% ) in a state that overwhelmingly voted for Trump in 2016 His campaign was undeterred by a last-minute charge of assault, after eyewitnesses saw Gianforte bodyslam a reporter attempting to question the candidate about the Obamacare repeal.

But Gianforte also benefited from millions of dollars spent on ads and mailers by GOP groups like the Conservative Leadership Fund.

More than 70 percent of Montana voters had already cast their ballots in early voting when these election-eve developments occurred. Mr. Gianforte can claim a measure of democratic legitimacy because the beating happened (barely) before the election.

Those two factors are what House Republicans are banking on.

Donald Trump and the alt-right/alt-fact wing of the Republican Party, with their constant attacks on the free press, have declared open season on journalists.

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