Although Republican Greg Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault a day before elections, he still had no problem beating Democrat Rob Quist on Thursday’s special election for the U.S. House in Montana.
The House seat was left vacant when former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke got appointed to the post of Secretary of the Interior by President Donald Trump.
Gianforte not only won over 50% of the vote, but he beat his Democrat rival by a seven point margin. This not only ruined Democrat’s anti-Trump plans, but shocked the media as well, considering Gianforte allegedly “body-slammed” a fellow reporter the day before elections.
Gianforte told the joyous crown outside his campaign headquarters that Montanans are “sending a wake-up call to the Washington D.C. establishment.”
Democrats thought they might’ve had a chance to win when controversy broke out the day before elections over accusations that UK Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was assaulted by Gianforte. Jacobs claims that Gianforte “body-slammed” him when he asked about the Congressional Budget Office score of the Republicans new health care plan.
The incident had some witnesses, including Fox News’ Alicia Acuna, who said Gianforte grabbed Jacobs “by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.”
The Guardian also released an audio recording, in which Jacobs could be heard asking Gianforte a question followed by a loud crash and Jacobs saying that he was attacked and had his glasses broken.
Despite all that, Gainforte still won and apologized for his actions.
“Last night I made a mistake and I took an action that I can’t take back,” he said. “I should have not responded in the way that I did. And for that I am sorry.”