Tags: Greg Gianforte | Special Election | Montana

'Body Slam' May Have Helped Greg Gianforte Win Special Election

'Body Slam' May Have Helped Greg Gianforte Win Special Election
(AP)

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Friday, 26 May 2017 08:41 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Blasted by Democrats and some fellow Republicans for manhandling a reporter from a British publication and repudiated by two major Montana newspapers that had previously endorsed him, Greg Gianforte nonetheless beat the odds in Montana’s special House election Thursday.

In near-final returns, Gianforte won the Big Sky Mountain’s at-large House seat by 50.8 to 43.4 percent over “Bernie Sanders Democrat” Rob Quist. The remaining votes went to Libertarian Party candidate Mark Wicks.

The big news in Gianforte’s victory is he won following reports that only 24 hours before, he had grabbed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by the throat and allegedly “body-slammed” the journalist and broke his glasses.

It raised the question whether hostility toward the liberal media among conservatives and Republicans in general has grown so intense that the so-called “body slam heard round the world” didn’t harm and may have even helped Gianforte’s chances.

Responding to reports worldwide that the embattled Republican received $100,000 in unsolicited small donations following his encounter with Jacobs, Laure Mandeville, editor-at-large of the venerable French publication Le Figaro told Newsmax: “Incredible, indeed. Are journalists hated that much [by conservatives]? It’s worrying.”

Some likened Gianforte’s scrap with the reporter to the storied 1950 incident at Washington D.C.’s Sulgrave Club in which Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wis., punched and kicked muckraking columnist Drew Pearson after encountering him in a restroom. The incident did not hurt McCarthy politically and, in fact, colleagues of both parties who despised Pearson’s tactics congratulated him.

According to The New York Times, 250,000 (67 percent) of the 375,000 voters in the special election voted early and thus were not impacted by the “body slam” incident (which occurred the day before the voting).

However, there is also evidence that the incident did not affect Montanans who actually went to the polls Thursday. From a polling place in Bozeman Thursday, BuzzFeed’s Alexis Levinson tweeted that “I haven't found anyone yet who changed their mind because of last night's events.”

“I don’t think voters judged Gianforte on this one incident,” veteran election analyst Jay O’Callaghan told me. “Quist had his own baggage, such as failure to pay taxes in the past.”

Although there are varying accounts of just what happened, Gianforte grew angry when Jacobs reportedly came to his headquarters and interrupted an interview he was having with Fox News. At that point, the candidate grabbed the reporter, shook him, and reportedly body-slammed him. The candidate was subsequently charged with misdemeanor assault by the county sheriff (who was a contributor to Gianforte).

In claiming victory, an emotional Gianforte told supporters “I should not have responded the way I did; for that I'm sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I'm sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs."

In a subsequent statement, Republican National Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel said "Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte was right to apologize for his actions in Wednesday’s incident. Tonight’s apology was a good first step toward redemption and I hope Gianforte continues to work toward righting his wrong.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Blasted by Democrats and some fellow Republicans for manhandling a reporter from a British publication and repudiated by two major Montana newspapers that had previously endorsed him, Greg Gianforte nonetheless beat the odds in Montana’s special House election Thursday.
Greg Gianforte, Special Election, Montana
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2017-41-26
Friday, 26 May 2017 08:41 AM
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