Montana Republican Who Roughed Up Reporter Wins House Seat

Gianforte's campaign originally published an explanation of the event that partially blamed the reporter for the exchange.

That being said, the Democrats still haven't put together the right combination of candidate and message to pick off a Republican seat. "Greg Gianforte should not be sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives while his assault case is still pending in court".

Montana has traditionally been a "Red State" in presidential elections, but it's not impossible for Democrats to win in the state.

The newly elected congressman apologized after his victory.

And while Democrats may well need a win on the board in order to prove that the protests and marches against Trump can translate at the ballot box, the trend line is in their favor and should be worrisome for Republicans, as the Cook Political Report's David Wasserman noted. Hours after Gianforte's scuffle with the reporter, Democrats were blasting Facebook ads at Montana Democrats they thought might otherwise sit out election day.

They argued that gives them renewed cause for optimism approaching two other special elections next month in Georgia and SC. The Democrats face higher expectations in Georgia than they did in Montana: They've poured a ton of money into the race, and Ossoff is a more polished candidate running in a district that is less friendly to Republicans (Trump carried it by just 1.5 points in 2016).

For Democrats, there is frustration that despite the energy and activism from their base voters, they have yet to score a special election upset this cycle. A supporter of Vermont Sen. The cowboy-hat-wearing musician making his first run for Congress had some financial problems in his past that Republicans jumped on.

Gianforte will replace Ryan Zinke in the U.S. House; Zinke left the job several months to become the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. He got on me and I think he hit me. "We'll keep up the enthusiasm, no question about that".

Witnesses said he grabbed Ben Jacobs and slammed him to the ground after being asked about the Republican health care bill.

By the time sheriff's deputies arrived, more than half of voters had already cast their ballots in the race due to the state's mail-in voting law.

After clinching the win, Gianforte apologized to the reporter, saying he "learned a lesson".

Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault and could face additional, more serious charges once prosecutors review the evidence. After his campaign initially issued a statement blaming the reporter, Gianforte stayed out of sight until the polls closed Thursday evening.

"When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it", Gianforte told his supporters at his Election Night rally in Bozeman.

He also said, "Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi can't call the shots here in Montana". The technology entrepreneur unsuccessfully ran for governor past year, and many political insiders in Montana expect him to make a second bid in 2020, when the current governor leaves office due to term limits.

"Last night I made a mistake, and I took an action that I can't take back, and I'm not proud of what happened", Gianforte said.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the apology "a good first step toward redemption and I hope Gianforte continues to work toward righting his wrong".