Republican Greg Gianforte emerged as the winner late Thursday of the Montana special election for the vacant U.S. House seat a day after he was charged for allegedly “body-slamming” a reporter.
Gianforte received 51 percent of the vote, compared with Democrat Rob Quist’s 44 percent, with 82 percent of the precincts counted.
In his acceptance speech, Gianforte apologized to The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, who accused the Republican of assaulting him and breaking his glasses.
“Last night, I made a mistake and I took an action that I can’t take back, and I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded the way that I did and for that I’m sorry,” he said.
Speaking at the G7 summit in Sicily, Italy on Friday, President Donald Trump congratulated Gianforte and called his campaign’s victory a “great win in Montana.”
The win means Republicans will continue to control Montana’s sole federal representative, which has been that way for the last 23 years.
The Daily Caller reports:
President Donald Trump carried the state with a 21 percent lead over Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Gianforte didn’t benefit from a “Trump bump” in 2016, something that the president was determined to fix in a robocall campaign Wednesday.
“If you don’t vote tomorrow, the liberal Democrats running for Congress will decimate and dismantle all that we’ve done,” Trump said on the call. “We can’t afford another Nancy Pelosi and the liberal Democrats taking over Congress and really hurting our country.”
Quist’s campaign centered around his statewide reputation as a singer.