Republican wins Montana election, despite violence

Rep. Greg Gianforte starts his tenure with assault charges.

 

Republicans in Montana celebrated Thursday night after GOP candidate Greg Gianforte beat out Democrat Rob Quist in a close race for the state’s lone House of Representatives seat. Gianforte, a multimillionaire who from Republican super PACs, gave his acceptance speech in Gallatin County, a county that went for Quist. Gianforte will fill the seat vacated by Republican Ryan Zinke, who was chosen to head the Department of the Interior. 

The win closed out a highly publicized race that was watched nationwide because Democratic and Republican strategists are looking at special elections as harbingers of the 2018 midterms, and because of Gianforte’s alleged assault of a reporter.

On election day in Missoula, Montana, women try to sway voters against Greg Gianoforte, with a nod to his assault on a reporter from The Guardian the day before.
Ivan Couronne/AFP/Getty Images

On May 24, on the eve of the election, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs asked Gianforte for his thoughts on the Republican healthcare bill, which had just received a score from the Congressional Budget Office. After declining to answer, Gianforte “grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground” and began punching him,  who were in the room. Gianforte yelled that he was “sick and tired of you guys,” , and told him to “get the hell out of here.” Gallatin County Sheriff’s office filed misdemeanor assault charges later that night. In a press release, the Gianforte campaign gave a different account of the events; Gianforte later apologized for his actions at his acceptance speech.

Gianforte has repeated many of the national Republican talking points on the media, as well as on issues like healthcare and education. President Donald Trump and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon have derided journalists as the “enemy of the people” and “crooked.” While in Hamilton, Montana, for a campaign stop, Gianforte told a reporter that his supporters outnumbered the journalist after . And during his campaign for Montana governor, which began in 2015, he lost his temper at a meeting with the Missoulian editorial board, after editors pressed him on a question, according to witnesses. “When Greg got flustered we chalked it up to him being a new candidate, someone who maybe just hadn’t learned the political graces of how to handle himself under pressure,” says Jayme Fraser, a Montana political reporter who was in the room at the time. “I don’t know if you can still say that two years later.”

Evidently, the assault did not definitively sway late Montana voters. Fraser says this could be because of a persistent skepticism of politicians and journalists in the state due to a history of corruption and collusion with mining companies. After the assault, three major Montana newspapers rescinded their endorsements. Gianforte’s win means he’ll continue to face tough questioning from local and national reporters for his stances in Congress. “We will continue to persist, even if it means getting ‘man-handled’ for it,” Montana writer Eve Byron says. “Bring it on.”

Anna V. Smith is an editorial fellow at NewTowncarShare News. 

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) seeks an individual to lead this 45-year-old organization as executive director, to carry on ICLs work as Idahos leading voice...
  • 2+ acres, 400+ feet on Snake River, 2800 sf residence, NWF-certified wildlife habitat, excellent hunting, fishing, birdwatching, stargazing, sunsets & panoramic views. In the heart...
  • Guardians is expanding and looking for a few great people to join us in protecting and restoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health...
  • Organic grocery/cafe at Glacier Bay needs a vibrant leader. Love good food, community, and Alaska? Join us!
  • Ouray County, Colorado, a popular tourist destination, has dramatic mountains and amazing winter ice climbing. Challenging terrain and high altitude can push visitors to their...
  • National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Coordinator-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Manager-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Southern CA. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research. www.barleybook.com
  • Are you a climber and a writer who is passionate about mountain literature? Do you love searching through old alpine journals for stories of esoteric...
  • 1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a full-time grassroots leadership director to oversee all aspects of the Grassroots Leadership Program. This includes ongoing development of...
  • Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • The Center for Western Priorities (CWP) is a nonpartisan communications and policy center that serves as a source of accurate information, promotes responsible policies and...
  • near Ennis, MT. Artist designed, 1900 SF, 2BR/2BA home on 11.6 acres with creek, tree, views, privacy. 406-570-9233 or [email protected] www.arrowreal.com (Country Homes).
  • Western Colorado Alliance brings people together across western Colorado to build grassroots power through community organizing and leadership development. Together we work for a future...
  • Colorado Farm to Table is looking for a full-time energetic, creative Executive Director to lead our team in Salida.
  • Join the publisher, editors, writers and staff of NewTowncarShare for the annual Holiday Open House. Refreshments, food, door prizes and merriment. Thursday, December 6,...