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Gianforte, charged with assaulting reporter, wins House seat in Montana special election - Charges to be reviewed

May 26, 2017View for printing

Republican Greg Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist on Thursday night in a race for Montana's lone seat in the U.S. House, despite being charged Wednesday with assaulting a reporter.

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

Gianforte told the crowd celebrating his victory: "I should not have responded the way I did and for that I am sorry."

Scott Thompson, Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune

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Gallatin County Attorney's Office to review Gianforte case

Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert said Thursday he will review the case involving Greg Gianforte, the Republican congressional candidate accused of shoving a reporter to the ground on the eve of a special election.

Lambert said he will set aside celebrity and hype and look at the facts surrounding Gianforte's altercation on Wednesday with Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian newspaper.

Lambert, who was elected as a Republican, says he knows Gianforte but not well. He sometimes encounters Gianforte at church, social events and GOP functions.

Jacobs said Thursday of Gianforte's account that "the only thing that is factually correct ... is my name and place of employment."

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Late Night with Seth Meyers: Video-Greg Gianforte, Trump and the First Amendment: A Closer Look

Seth takes a closer look at how some Republicans are dealing with increased scrutiny in light of the Trump-Russia scandal and their unpopular health care plan - like Greg Gianforte body slamming a reporter.


Don't Judge Montana for a Single Body Slam

This might have been Montanans' splashiest national publicity week since Butte's Evel Knievel crashed his motorcycle jumping the Caesars Palace fountains.


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How can the U.S. restore civility? This panel has some ideas

When Billings Public Library Director Gavin Woltjer selected civility two months ago as the topic for Thursday's panel discussion, "I had no idea what was about to transpire," with all eyes on Montana following GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte's alleged assault Wednesday of reporter Ben Jacobs.

Greg Gianforte's slam drives home intersection of tech, politics

"He operates through intimidation," recalled Kolsky. "The worst thing you can say to him is no or you're wrong."

Still, the image of the physically imposing Gianforte slamming a reporter to the ground is hard for those who know him to imagine.

"Back then he was great with reporters. He was always eager to talk to any reporter," says Mark Coker, who handled PR for Gianforte in the 1990s. "In his new world view, it appears he considers the media the enemy."

Jon Swartz , USA TODAY

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GOP Montana win may be blip in Democrats' anti-Trump hopes

Stivers' Democratic counterpart, Rep. Ben Lujan of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, contended in a statement that the election was "tainted" by the assault. "There's no question in my mind that Gianforte should not be sworn into office," Lujan said. "Regardless of what happens next, we will be competing hard for this seat in 2018."

The assault allegation didn't seem to faze voters. Shaun Scott, a computer science professor at Carroll College in Helena, voted for Gianforte despite the assault charge, saying it was barely a factor in his decision.

"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.

Bobby Caina Calvan and Nicholas Riccardi, Associated Press

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Why 'Mr. Gianforte Goes to Washington' would be a horror film

For American journalists and anybody else who cares about the First Amendment and the role of the free press in a healthy democracy, the body-slamming incident added an exclamation point to the sad sentence that began writing itself during Donald Trump's press-hating presidential campaign and hasn't stopped since: We, the so-called enemy of the American people, are under attack, under arrest and, now, under (alleged) assault.

By J. Freedom du Lac

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GOP candidate accused of body-slamming reporter has said retirement is 'not biblical'

The candidate has a history of making controversial comments ... 4c9a13228f0 . For example, he drew criticism in 2014 for remarks about an LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill.

Despite the 2015 remarks about Noah, Gianforte has suggested in his campaign materials that he would not interfere with other people's retirement plans. On his campaign website, Gianforte wrote that he would work to "protect and secure" Social Security and Medicare if elected to Congress. "I'll stop the Washington politicians from cutting the retirement benefits Montana seniors earned," the website reads.

By Jonnelle Marte

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Gianforte has a history of controversial views and hostile comments to journalists

"As soon as Greg started getting attacked on TV, people were like, 'Oh, yeah, that guy, [the] billionaire jerk from New Jersey,' " an unnamed Republican strategist familiar with the race told Roll Call this week.

By Elise Viebeck

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