As residents of Montana's at-large congressional district decide who to send to Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte's chances hang in the balance over an altercation he had with a reporter that resulted in an assault charge. "This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics". And before Gianforte's alleged assault, this strategy appeared to be working: Three Gravis-conducted polls showed Gianforte leading comfortably, according to Real Clear Politics. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. "If you think this election cycle didn't contribute to it, and Donald Trump's rhetoric didn't contribute to it, I'll say it again, you are sadly mistaken", he said on Thursday.
"We are also sick and exhausted - of Gianforte's incessant attacks on the free press", the Helena Independent Record wrote. "I took an action I can't take back and I am not proud of what happened". The office of Montana's secretary of state released a statement saying almost 70 percent of ballots had been cast prior to Election Day, anyway: even if persuadable constituents had a change of heart after Wednesday night, for many of them it was too late. Authorities said Jacobs' injuries weren't severe enough for a felony assault charge.
Before running for Congress, Gianforte unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2016.
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A Fox News journalist who saw Wednesday's incident said Mr Gianforte had "grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground" after the reporter persisted in trying to question him.
He is running for the state's only congressional seat in a special election set for Thursday. Mr Gianforte said through a spokesman earlier this month that he needed more information before deciding whether he favoured the GOP legislation, while on the same day praising the bill during a private conference call, according to the New York Times, which said it obtained a recording of the call. In the congressional race, Gianforte has been boosted by visits from Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump, Jr.
Gianforte's support came from people like Bozeman advertising executive Cailley Tonn, who voted early for Gianforte.
Rural Montana is a reliably Republican state, having voted for the GOP in every election bar two since 1952.