Three newspapers in Montana withdrew their endorsements from Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for an open House of Representatives seat, in the wake of Gianforte's altercation with a reporter.
The Billings Gazette, the Helena Independent Record, and the Missoulian all retracted their endorsements of Gianforte for the open seat that had belonged to Ryan Zinke, who left the position to join President Donald Trump's administration as secretary of the interior.
Witnesses saw the incident and the victim, reporter Ben Jacobs, recorded audio during the altercation.
"If what was heard on tape and described by eyewitnesses is accurate, the incident in Bozeman is nothing short of assault. We wouldn't condone it if it happened on the street … and we wouldn't accept it from a man who is running to become Montana's lone Congressional representative," wrote the Billings Gazette's editorial board.
"Democracy cannot exist without a free press, and both concepts are under attack by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Greg Gianforte … we cannot condone that kind of violence," according to the Helena Independent Record, in a retraction of its endorsement.
"There is no doubt that Gianforte committed an act of terrible judgment that, if it doesn't land him in jail, also shouldn't land him in the U.S. House of Representatives," the Missoulian editorial board wrote.
While withdrawing their endorsements, none of the papers changed endorsements to Gianforte's Democratic opponent, Rob Quist, according to Politico.
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