House GOP sticking with Montana candidate despite assault

Alvin Kelly
May 26, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said Gianforte should apologize, while other Republican lawmakers have called the incident "out of character". "So that is wrong and should not have happened".

Ryan said it was up to Montana voters to pick their representative and he would not attempt to block Gianforte from joining Congress if he wins the election.

Thursday's special election for Montana's sole congressional seat got a last-minute twist when the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault and would face a maximum $500 fine or six months in jail if convicted. They close Thursday night at 8 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET).

Gianforte was in a private office preparing for an interview with Fox News when Jacobs came in without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon told the Associated Press. The incident took place at the Republican candidate's Bozeman campaign headquarters, and Jacobs' claims were supported several hours later with a blow-by-blow account from a Fox News crew that was present during the altercation. "Jacobs said Gianforte "body slammed" him for asking a question about healthcare".

Acuna disputed the statement. He unsuccessfully ran for governor previous year. Democrat Rob Quist, who has said he'll leave the matter up to law enforcement, was slated to rally in Missoula but was doing little media interaction of his own.

Washington-based think tank Issue One said Thursday that about $17 million has been spent on the race between Gianforte and Quist - almost $7 million of that by outside groups.

Voters head to the polls in Montana Thursday to decide whether Mr. Gianforte or Mr. Quist will hold the seat that Ryan Zinke vacated to become President Trump's interior secretary.

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According to Jacobs' recording of the interview, which was posted on The Guardian's website, Gianforte can be heard yelling at Jacobs followed by crashing sounds.

"RightNow's products add leading customer experience capabilities that help empower companies to interact with and provide a consistent experience to customers across channels", Gianforte said in an Oracle press release announcing the $1.5 billion deal.

Voters go to the polls Thursday night in a race being watched closely by politicos across the nation trying to get a sense of how Trump's turbulent time in the White House may affect the midterms next year.

Gootkin also disclosed that he had contributed to Gianforte's campaign but said it "has nothing to do" with the investigation or his role as sheriff.

Three Montana newspapers - the Billings Gazette, the the Helena Independent Record and the Missoulan - pulled their endorsements of Gianforte.

"We are literally in a dogfight right now", a Montana Republican familiar with the race told The Hill. The chamber's rules say winning candidates can be seated as long as they meet the constitutional requirements of age, residence and citizenship. "At no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte", she wrote.

It was unclear what impact the late-breaking news would have on the election, especially since a significant portion of voters already had cast early ballots. "Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground", the statement said.

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