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Billionaire Alleged Body-Slamming Republican Greg Gianforte Projected Winner in Montana Special Election

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A Democrat Hasn’t Held Montana’s Sole Congressional Seat in 20 Years

Republican Greg Gianforte is the projected winner in the race to fill Montana’s open seat in the U.S House of Representatives. The AP called the race at 12:35 AM EDT.

Earlier:

Descision Desk:

Cook Political Report:

Just past midnight, with 65% of the vote counted, The New York Times reported Gianforte had nearly 50% of the vote:

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The quiet special election to replace a GOP congressman became a breaking news story overnight, when GOP candidate Greg Gianforte late Wednesday allegedly “body-slammed” a reporter asking a question about health care policy.

U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke was picked from obscurity by President Donald Trump to become Secretary of the Interior. Billionaire businessman Greg Gianforte, a far right wing anti-gay Christian extremist billionaire known to have a problem with his temper allegedly knocked a reporter for The Guardian off his feet, grabbed him by the neck, and repeatedly punched him, according to a Fox News reporter who was in the room late Wednesday afternoon. 

Gianforte had several thing going for him: timing. Before his alleged assault (for which he was cited hours later, after massive public outrage that he was allowed to leave the scene and drive away despite the local sheriff being on hand) about 65 to 70 percent of votes had already been cast.  

He also had another thing going for him: Montana conservatives.

Thursday night CNN reported people in Montana they talked to delivered a “groundswell” of support for Gianforte, and called his (alleged) assault, which sent the reporter, Ben Jacobs, to the hospital, “Montana justice.”

That support translated into dollars:

Speaking of dollars, Republicans poured millions into this race, Democrats, once again, didn’t bother:

Not much was known nationally about either candidate.

The Democrat, Rob Quist, describes himself as a “small businessman, award-winning songwriter, and entrepreneur.” Known as the cowboy poet, he’s spent a lot of time traveling across Montana. And beyond. He even performed at a nudist resort in what his communications director called “a naked attempt to distract voters from Greg Gianforte’s shady Russian investments,” USA Today reported last month.

Gianforte has a far different background. He is a young earth creationist, or at least his foundation has funded a museum that is. Along with some very anti-gay groups.

“In 2006, he established the Gianforte Family Foundation with his wife ‘in response to God’s great goodness to them,'” HuffPost reported in 2015, before his failed gubernatorial attempt.

The foundation focuses on “improving education, lifting people out of poverty, protecting the unborn, and Christian outreach.” According to its website, last year’s grantees included groups against gay marriage, such as the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, as well as the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, which aims to show “the adventure of receiving [Jesus Christ] as Savior and Lord.”  

Gianforte has indicated in the past that he doesn’t see the need to separate his faith from his professional life. According to National Journal, last year he personally lobbied against a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nondiscrimination ordinance. In a February talk at the Montana Bible College, he said, “there’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement.” 

Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence endorsed Gianforte. Trump, who won the state by 21 points, recorded a robocall for the Montana Republican. Pence traveled to the state to campaign with him (photo, above).

Sadly, few national Republicans denounced Gianforte, while many more offered varying degrees of support. 

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COMMENTARY

Right-Wing Outraged Over Falsely Thinking White House Press Secretary Said National Security Council Is Using ‘TikTok’

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For decades White House press secretaries, military officers, and reporters have used the words “tick-tock” to denote an overview of a conversation, or a chronological telling of a series of events – and not the now-popular Chinese app “TikTok,” which some allege has major national security implications.

And yet, the far-right-wing website Daily Caller, a veteran Fox News host, and many others on the social media site Twitter attacked Karine Jean-Pierre Monday afternoon, after the White House Press Secretary told the press: “I know there was a tick-tock that went out to all of you from the National Security Council that was pretty detailed on how everything broke down for the past week.”

Inside Elections’ Jacob Rubashkin mocked The Daily Caller, (which was founded by Tucker Carlson,) for getting something so basic so wrong.

READ MORE: Morning Joe Reminds Viewers of the Last Time the Koch Network ‘Stopped the Craziness’ in GOP Primaries

Longtime journalist Keith Olberman blasted several people on Twitter who assumed the worst, including veteran Fox News reporter David Asman.

He didn’t stop there.

 

 

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News

House Ethics Committee Begins Questioning Santos Staffers

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The U.S. House Committee on Ethics has begun questioning staffers for embattled Rep. George Santos, who on Friday was accused of sexual harassment and improper hiring practice by a prospective aide the New York Republican interviewed and hired.

CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona, reporting the committee’s questioning, calls it “a sign that the committee is looking into some of the allegations against Santos, though it doesn’t necessarily mean a formal investigation has been launched yet.”

“It is unclear what exactly the committee asked these staffers about, but multiple ethics complaints have been filed against Santos,” Zanona adds.

READ MORE: Watch: Democrats File Ethics Complaint Against George Santos After GOP Leadership Calls It an ‘Internal’ Matter

Most recently, a prospective staffer filed a complaint that the congressman made an unwanted sexual advance.

Two New York Democrats last month also filed an ethics complaint against Santos over his financial disclosure reporting.

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Jordan’s First Hearing on ‘So-Called’ Weaponization of Government Mocked Over Conspiracy Theorist Witnesses

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Its first hearing isn’t until Thursday but already Chairman Jim Jordan‘s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government is being mocked after the list of witnesses was released.

NBC News’ Garrett Haake reports testifying before the committee on Thursday will be ex-Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and former FBI special agent Nicole Parker.

Gabbard left the Democratic Party and is now an independent and a Fox News contributor. In 2019, Hillary Clinton suggested she was a Russian asset being groomed for a third-party presidential run. She sued the former Democratic presidential nominee and former U.S. Secretary of State but later dropped the defamation lawsuit.

Also, Gabbard “shared false information,” Forbes reported last year, “about U.S. involvement in Ukraine biological laboratories … giving credence to an unfounded Russian-backed conspiracy theory the U.S. has warned could serve as justification for Russia to use biological and chemical weapons against Ukraine.”

READ MORE: Santos Denies Sexually Assaulting Prospective Staffer Working in His Office – Calls Allegations ‘Comical’

Sen. Johnson, who narrowly won re-election after being among the top promoters of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” is a conspiracy theorist who uses his Senate seat to spread false information about COVID and a host of other crises.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza branded Johnson the “Senate’s leading conspiracy theorist” just one year ago. The Washington Post reported last May that Sen. Johnson “expressed openness” to “a fervent anti-vaccination” commentator’s “idea that maybe the coronavirus vaccines are a conduit for deliberately giving people AIDS.”

Sen. Grassley has come under fire for his racist remarks about COVID-19, dangerously false claims about the IRS, and apparent falsehoods about the January 6 insurrection and its participants.

Last year The American Independent reported Grassley told a constituent “what you said is accurate.” According to The Independent, the constituent said during a town hall: “Knowing that the FBI and Capitol Police were complicit in Jan. 6, what have you done to get the political prisoners being held in gulag conditions out on bail?”

Some were quick to mock Chairman Jordan’s choice of witnesses to testify before his subcommittee’s first hearing.

“Johnson actively pushed the WI legislature & the VP to overturn the election. Tulsi used her perch in Congress to secretly meet with Assad & whitewash his war crimes. so in a sense, they are indeed experts on weaponizing gov’t.,” mocked former Hillary Clinton foreign policy spokesperson Jesse Lehrich.

READ MORE: ‘Whatever Side Bet on Stupid Won Big’: Steve Schmidt Scorches Marco Rubio for ‘Kernels of Imbecility’ on Balloongate

Jim Manley, a top aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, described the panel as “low energy.”

NBC News Justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly pre-deflated Parker’s possible contributions, citing her as saying: “’I was never asked to participate in anything that was political,’ Nicole Parker said in one of her Fox News hits (Hannity, specifically).”

Even CNN did not hide its skepticism, beginning its reporting with this line: “The GOP-led House select subcommittee on so-called weaponization of the federal government will draw upon a prominent ex-Democrat, two of their Republican Senate colleagues, and a former FBI agent in their first public hearing to discuss how they believe the government has been weaponized against conservatives, multiple sources familiar with the plans tell CNN.”

 

 

 

 

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