Greg Gianforte Apologizes for Body-Slamming Reporter; Wins Montana Election

Polls Close in Montana's Suddenly Famous Special Congressional Election

Criminal assault suspect Greg Gianforte is the victor of the special election to fill Montana's seat in the U.S. House, according to the Associated Press, David Wasserman of Cook Political Report (writing at FiveThirtyEight), and DecisionDeskHQ.

Gianforte, a Republican, won a special election in Montana Thursday to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who left the seat to serve as secretary of the Interior. However, Gianforte appeared to admit to assaulting Jacobs in his acceptance speech (which you can watch below) when he apologized to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs (although for undoubtedly legal reasons, he stayed vague).

Gianforte then addressed the incident that happened on Wednesday night, for which he was charged with misdemeanor assault against reporter Ben Jacobs.

After the altercation Wednesday, Gianforte's campaign issued a statement blaming the reporter.

In an interview with IJR earlier this month, Gianforte struggled to find areas of disagreement with Trump; however, he did say that he differs with the president on certain EPA Super Fund sites that he wants to make sure get protected amongst the president's budget slashing. "That's the Montana way".

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"Last night I made a mistake", he said.

"I'm sick and exhausted of you guys", Gianforte said in audio of the event released by The Guardian.

"I should not have responded in the way that I did", Gianforte said.

Mr. Gianforte now faces misdemeanor assault charges. And I just ask you to bear with me.

Three Montana newspapers withdrew support for Gianforte on the day of the election because of the incident, but it's not clear what effect the incident had on the vote.

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Ryan's campaign spokesman congratulated Gianforte early Friday.

"That's not the person I am and that's not the way I'll lead this state", he said. For better or for worse, Montana's U.S. House seat will now be filled by Greg Gianforte - businessman, Republican, and choke-slam champion. Last night, I learned a lesson.

"That's his model, Donald Trump", she told reporters.

The state's Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, described it as "a wake-up call to all Montanans and Americans".

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded robocalls urging voters not to let the Democrats take the seat.

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Gianforte also was rolling up huge margins in the state's rural counties - an area where Quist, a country singer, had hoped he could fare better.

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