A reporter from the Guardian on Wednesday said Greg Gianforte, a Republican candidate in the special election in Montana, body slammed him and broke his glasses.
Gianforte's campaign denied he was the aggressor.
Ben Jacobs, a political reporter for the British daily newspaper, said Gianforte also told him to "get the he— out of here," after Jacobs asked him about the Republican healthcare plan. Audio of the encounter was quickly posted on YouTube.
"I'm sick and tired of you guys," Gianforte said. "The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?"
"Yes! You just broke my glasses," Jacobs replied.
"The last guy did the same damn thing," Gianforte said.
"You just body slammed me and broke my glasses," Jacob said.
"Get the hell out of here," Gianforte yelled.
The incident happened at Gianforte's campaign headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. Gianforte was with a local TV news crew in a side room when Jacobs asked his question.
"He took me to the ground," Jacobs told the Guardian by phone from the back of an ambulance. "This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics."
Shane Scanlon, a spokesperson for Gianforte's campaign, released a statement saying Jacobs was, in fact, the aggressor.
He said Jacobs interrupted a private interview, and when he was asked to leave and lower his recorder, he declined.
"Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the gound."
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has called on Gianforte to drop out of the race.
"Greg Gianforte must immediately withdraw his candidacy after his alleged violent assault of an innocent journalist," spokesman Tyler Law said. "Further, Speaker [Paul] Ryan and the National Republican Campaign Committee should not waste another minute before publicly denouncing their candidate and apologizing for the millions of dollars they spent on his behalf."
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said during a news conference Wednesday night that the department can't provide much information about the confrontation, but added his office plan to interview Gianforte and Jacobs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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