The GOP is on edge as voters in Montana go to the polls in a special House race once viewed as a sure thing for Republicans, The Hill reported.
Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist are vying to replace Ryan Zinke, who was named Interior secretary by President Donald Trump.
Gianforte once enjoyed a double-digit lead in polls, but that has narrowed to single digits in recent weeks, according to The Hill.
And Wednesday night, the candidate was cited for misdemeanor assault on a reporter.
The incident occurred at his campaign headquarters when Ben Jacobs, a reporter from The Guardian, asked Gianforte about the Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act, Fox News reported.
At one point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground, witnesses claimed, the news network said.
Gianforte's campaign claimed Jacobs had shoved a recorder in the candidates face and the two fell to the ground, the Washington Examiner reported.
But even before the incident Republicans were conceding the race was close, The Hill said.
"We are literally in a dog fight right now," said a Montana Republican familiar with the race. "I think it is essentially a toss-up.
"It's really tightening up. The nationalization of the race contributed to a lot of that."
And a GOP operative told the Examiner: "It's definitely within 5 points. There's a very real scenario where it's too close to call on Election Night."
Meanwhile, Democrats were sensing an opportunity to pull off an upset in a state Trump carried by 20 points, The Hill noted.
"What I'm seeing on the ground is the momentum shift," said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. "The enthusiasm on the ground is beyond anything I've ever seen."
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