Since Republicans took control of both elected branches of government in 2016 the Democrats have been searching for their toe-hold…anywhere. They may have found it unwittingly in Montana on Wednesday.
As Jay Caruso reported previously, Montana Republican candidate for congress, Greg Gianforte, reportedly “body slammed” The Guardian reporter, Ben Jacobs, so hard his glasses were broken. Fox News later reported Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck before taking him down to the floor.
Gianforte has since been charged with misdemeanor assault and issued a citation. The altercation now possibly puts the election on the line for Republicans in a heretofore considered safe seat. Newspapers in the state that previously endorsed the candidate have swiftly pulled their support.
The Billings Gazette and The Missoulian have so far pulled their endorsements at this time.
According to The Missoulian:
The Republican candidate for Congress not only lost the endorsement of this newspaper Wednesday night when, according to witnesses, he put his hands around the throat of a reporter asking him about his health care stance, threw him to the ground and punched him — he should lose the confidence of all Montanans.
Three weeks ago, the Missoulian endorsed Gianforte because we took him at his word that he would set aside his personal beliefs, listen to Montanans and be their voice in the House.
Our editorial said Gianforte “has the education, experience, brains and abilities to be successful in Congress. But only if he holds firm to his promise to set aside his own personal ideology whenever necessary in order to uphold Montana values.
“… Gianforte repeatedly assured the Missoulian editorial board that he can and will do just that. The people of Montana must hold him to that pledge.’’
Gianforte violated that pledge when he attacked a reporter for doing his job Wednesday night.
The paper went on to note that questions specifically about the CBO report on the American Health Care Act was a question Gianforte had said he wouldn’t answer until the report was available. On Wednesday, the report came out, hence Jacobs’ questioning.
As readers of the Missoulian know, Gianforte had repeatedly dodged questions about whether he would support the House plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act because he wanted to wait for the Congressional Budget Office to assess its impact.
Wednesday afternoon, the CBO issued its report, showing that millions of people across the United States — and thousands here in Montana — would lose health care coverage under the GOP plan.
The Missoulian went on to ultimately say that, “He showed Wednesday night that he lacks the experience, brains and abilities to effectively represent Montana in any elected office.”
And went on to say, “if [the assault] doesn’t land him in jail, also shouldn’t land him in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Despite Gianforte’s physical handling of a respected political reporter, the die may already be cast for him to win Thursday night as 65-70 percent of the vote has already come in, according to Brandon Finnigan at the DecisionDeskHQ.