Republican wins Montana special election despite assault charge

Carla Harmon
May 26, 2017

Jacobs says Gianforte then cut him off by saying, "Ya, let me talk to you about that later". Gianforte: I'm sick and exhausted of you guys. He sometimes encounters Gianforte at church, social events and GOP functions. Gianforte, charged with shoving a reporter to the ground on the eve of a special election kept a low profile Thursday, May 25, even as supporters prepared a hotel ballroom for a possible victory party.

When pressed, Gianforte would not say whether knowing of Rose's suspected beliefs would have affected his decision to donate to him, instead telling the paper that "hatred is wrong and has no place in government or politics".

The sheriff, Brian Gootkin, noted in response to questions that he had made a $250 contribution to Gianforte's campaign.

Fox News Channel reporter Alicia Acuna, who was preparing to interview Gianforte at the time, said the candidate "grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him to the ground".

Some House Republicans were not eager to comment Thursday morning but Pelosi said: "We've really got say enough". After operating it as a private enterprise, Gianforte, who employed almost 500 people, sold it to Oracle in 2011 for almost $1.8 billion.


Gianforte could face additional, more serious charges once local prosecutors review the evidence, Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert told Reuters. "And we couldn't accept it from a man who is running to become Montana's lone Congressional representative", the Billings Gazette said in an editorial.

Jacobs also said he never touched the politician before he was thrown to the ground.

Jacobs told MSNBC's Chris Hayes that he was trying to ask Gianforte about the Congressional Budget Office's financial analysis of the Republican health care plan when "the next thing I know, I'm being body-slammed".

A Fox News crew, whose interview Jacobs crashed, described the altercation in a way that appeared to support Jacobs' depiction of events and with more detail.

Bullock defeated Gianforte in Montana's governor's race last fall.


Ryan told reporters at a news conference, "Physical adjustment?" The Guardian later published audio of a man who is apparently Gianforte telling Jacobs to speak to his staff, followed by a crashing noise as the man says he is "sick and exhausted of you guys" and tells Jacobs to "get the hell out of here".

The incident occurred hours before polls opened Thursday in the high-profile race between Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist for the state's open House seat.

He criticized "ambush tactics" he said were deployed by those reporters and Jacobs. "This request was later declined and we were asked to direct all further communications to the attorney".

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.

The Republican "violated that pledge [to uphold Montana values] when he attacked a reporter for doing his job Wednesday night", the Missoulian wrote. On the eve of the election, Gianforte apparently chose to commit felony assault on a reporter asking him questions.


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