Special Election for U.S. House Seat for Montana Is Today
Montana voters in today's special election to fill a U.S. congressional seat are facing a very different decision than they were just 24 hours ago. On Wednesday evening the Republican candidate in the race,Â Greg Gianforte, assaulted Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian. Gianforte left the scene and then issuedÂ a press release, falsely claiming the "liberal journalist" was the one exhibiting "aggressive behavior."Â
Later Wednesday evening the Gallatin County sheriffÂ chargedÂ Gianforte in the attack, which sent Jacobs to the hospital, withÂ misdemeanor assault.Â
As a result of the unprovoked attack, all three Montana newspapers who had endorsedÂ Gianforte, The Billings Gazette,Â The Missoulian,Â andÂ The Helena Independent Record,Â rescinded their endorsements.
A Fox News reporter who witnessed the assault wrote, "Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground," and "then began punching" Jacobs.
The audio of the assault is stunning:
Gianforte is a far right wing Christian extremist billionaire who personally worked to defeat protections for LGBT people and has funded anti-gay organizations that support conversion therapy. He ran for the GOP nomination for governor but lost. Until Wednesday's assault, the Montana election, although close, was largely expected to go toÂ Gianforte, and received little attention from the national mainstream media.
It's unclear what effect the assault will have on the election results.Â The New York TimesÂ notes that, thanks to early voting, "half the estimated total ballots in the contest had been returned by Wednesday."
Just hours before "body slamming" the reporter, as Jacobs described the assault, Gianforte posted this video boasting of his endorsements:
Click on images to enlarge:
The front pages voters in Montana are waking up to on Election Day. pic.twitter.com/gaR7gGbOMMâ€” Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) May 25, 2017
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