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Watch the results come in for Montana's wild Congressional election
26 May 2017, 01:10 | Vickie Mathis
Private GOP polls showed a close race earlier this week, with Gianforte projected to have a slim, single-digit lead.
Republicans have held the state's lone congressional seat for two decades.
While there are still questions left unanswered about GOP House hopeful Greg Gianforte's altercation with Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, eyewitness accounts, law enforcement investigations and records are all shocking, disturbing and without precedent. If Gianforte wins, he'll serve the next 20 months in Congress.
The Montana election has drawn the interest of partisans as the seat is one of the first Congressional battles since Trump took office.
DemocratRob Quist is a 69-year-old singer-songwriter and self-described small businessman from the town of Cut Bank, where he grew up on the highline, a rural corner of the state.
Gianforte's campaignsaidJacobs was the aggressor in the incident and grabbed the candidate's wrist before they both fell to the ground.
US Republican Greg Gianforte has won a special congressional election in Montana, just hours after he was charged with assaulting a United Kingdom reporter.
Even with the assault charges against Gianforte complicating the race just hours before voters were set to go to the polls, a significant portion of voters had already sent in mail-in ballots, so the impact of the accusations was likely minimal.
At a news conference on Thursday, Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Gianforte cooperated by giving an initial statement at the scene.
Gianforte's campaign issued a statement Wednesday blaming the reporter for the altercation.
He canceled television interviews and did not appear in public even as his supporters readied his victory party.
But after he was declared the victor, Gianforte apologized for the attack. "That's the Montana way", he said.
"I'm sick and exhausted of you guys", Gianforte said.
"I should not have responded the way I did". If Gianforte goes down, Senate Republicans are going to panic about their next step on health care.
Greg Gianforte - a wealthy businessman who had been expected to comfortably win Thursday's contest until recent weeks - faces up to six months in county jail and a $500 fine if convicted of misdemeanor assault against a journalist from the British newspaper The Guardian.
Stivers' Democratic counterpart, Rep.
The ad, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, opens with a black and red background and bold white graphics that read, "Must Listen".
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell said that Trump has helped whip up "hostility" toward the press, while Joe Scarborough said a "straight line" can be drawn between Trump's anti-media rhetoric and the Gianforte incident.
The Society of Professional Journalists denounced the alleged assault, saying "it is never acceptable to physically harm or arrest a journalist who is simply trying to do his or her job".
The assault allegation didn't seem to faze voters.
Tamy Wagner, KECI vice president and general manager, told HuffPost in an email that the station "did not have specific instructions or any instruction from Sinclair", in its handing of the Gianforte story.
"If you have somebody sticking a phone in your face, a mic in your face, over and over, and you don't know how to deal with the situation, you haven't really done that, you haven't dealt with that, I can see where it can. make you a little angry", Scott said.
As of Wednesday night, 259,558 ballots have been returned, said Derek J. Oestreicher, the Director of Elections and Voter Services in the Office of the Montana Secretary of State. "Not quirky personalities." Quist is a folk musician and first-time candidate. He surprised Democrats by nabbing his party's nomination at its convention in March.
Quist has won the support of several big names, including Bernie Sanders and actor Michael Keaton. Quist blamed a botched gallbladder strategy when confronted with a series of attacks that he had unpaid property taxes and debts. But Republicans would still face a major decision whether or not to seat him. Quist eventually raised more than $6 million but struggled to come back from the early onslaught of negative publicity and advertising. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who won the state's presidential primary a year ago, and Quist had hoped to ride that same populist wave to an upset victory. After finding out she worked at CNN, the voter said, "You're lucky someone doesn't pop one of you". Sinclair, which owns 173 outlets nationwide and is poised to add dozens more, has history of boosting Republican candidates. I was very surprised last night. But it was too late to do any more advertising.
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