I’m going to start a list of headlines I never expected to be writing. Ever. Well, today is the day for a Special Election in Montana to fill the one and only at-large US House seat in the state. Republican Greg Gianforte is facing Democrat Rob Quist for the seat in what has become a small battleground for national politics. Things took a strange turn just yesterday when Gianforte was witnessed literally putting hands on a reporter from the UK Guardian and apparently slammed him to the ground.

A crew from Fox News witnessed the incident and described the events as they saw them unfold:

The race to fill Montana’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives took a violent turn Wednesday, and a crew from the Fox News Channel, including myself, witnessed it firsthand.

During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte’s face and began asking if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. [Emphasis added] Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

There is also audio of the incident released by the UK Guardian:

Now, ABC/Fox Montana reports that Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault and will appear in court on June 7th:

Just after 10:30pm on Wednesday evening, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin reported his office has charged Greg Gianforte with misdemeanor assault.

Gootkin’s statement reads as follows:

“Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault (MCA 45-5-201). The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault. Greg Gianforte received a citation on Wednesday night and is scheduled to appear in Gallatin County Justice Court between now and June 7, 2017.”

As a result of this incident, the race has become far more competitive in the past twelve hours than it had been up to this point. Recent polling data had given Gianforte a 14 point advantage on average, according to RealClearPolitics. However, according to the prediction market site PredictIt, which will show a more real-time view of sentiment on the race, the contest has tightened closer to being a toss-up:

As mentioned yesterday, Gianforte was being supported nationally by surrogates of President Trump, including Donald Trump Jr., who visited Montana to personally campaign for Gianforte.

The polls close this evening in Montana at 8pm MT, which is 10pm ET. It may be late into the night before we get any results, especially if the race goes down to the wire given the recent incident.

19 COMMENTS

    • I’m assuming you meant “Guardian reporter.” I don’t pick on typos, like “shoo-in,” unless the meaning is confusing.

      Also confusing who you mean by “he.” Did “he” choose to attack a reporter?

      I still think the obnoxious Gianforte will win easily. It’s a deep red state, which has had a Republican representative as long as anyone there can remember. Also, there were a lot of early votes, and this hit too late to sink in. Besides, a Republican candidate who, literally, chokes a reporter will probably be even more popular there.

      Even as of yesterday, PredictIt gamblers said Gianforte had and 80% chance of winning. The fact that it’s now 55-45 is a big change, but would still mean a decisive win.

      • Goethe, in the UK the Guardian is often referred to as the Grauniad or similar due to it’s frequent typos and spelling errors (including it’s front page banner title on one occasion).

        The Fox article also specifically reports that their crew at no point saw the reporter show any physical aggression towards the candidate.
        A rare occasion of the conservative-right media defending the liberal-left. This is quite a shocking assault.

  1. My dad had been a champ in several sports. He often told me that the trick to winning is to not do anything that might cause you to lose and let your opponent make the mistakes. Political contests are very much like sports contests.

  2. Trump’s campaign is reaponsible for other Republicans now feeling justified in assaulting journalists. The fascist government has declared journalists their enemies. Their goal is to make free media illegal. This is what fascists do.

          • What’s the difference between being blocked from the site and having all your comments deleted?

            Go ahead, Trumpkin. You’re clearly not interested in open discussion, so you might as well ban all but your loony, violent Trumpist friends and be done with it already.

            • We have not deleted “all your comments.” We have only deleted your posts on two threads–in the same month–that went nowhere for far too long. Really OCD. We’ve been more than patient with you.

              If you want to comment on issues that are presented, you’re still welcome to (at this point), but when you get abusive and redundant, irrelevantly beating dead horses, we’ll halt that thread, snowflake.

            • How come you won’t answer my simple question, snowflake? And why do you feel to lie about what the question is? Why not just answer it?

            • Also because it’s not an honest question.

              Both Nate and I answered it, and Up kept asking it because he just wanted to continue to be the center of attention.

              We attempt to be neutral. The interesting thing is that the conservative commenters have not joined in. Does that mean they don’t have an answer for the question, or that they feel that Up doesn’t deserve one?

            • No, you haven’t answered it. You’ve answered a different question, and Nate didn’t answer at all.

              You dishonestly misstate my question as though I’m asking for an argument that would convince ME. My question is, and has always been, for you to name a conservative plan or idea that has value to YOU.

              Why would you lie about what the question is? What purpose does it serve?

            • Yeah, I do believe that the conservative commenters can’t name one conservative plan or idea that they can say is convincing to them. If they did, why would they spend all their time yelling about Benghazi rather than present these decent arguments that allegedly exist?

            • How would you know? You haven’t tried. Start by answering my simple question. That’d be a good way of showing that you’re not acting in bad faith.

      • You don’t need to reply to my comments, btw. It’s pointless, since you won’t allow me to respond without deleting my replies.

  3. NEWS FLASH–Three Montana newspapers have RESCINDED their endorsement of Gianforte. Also, Paul Ryan has asked him to apologize–even though the Gianforte campaign is trying to say he was justified in attacking the reporter.

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