WASHINGTON (JTA) — Greg Gianforte, the Republican who allegedly bodyslammed a reporter on the eve of a special election in Montana, has won the election.
Gianforte, a tech millionaire backed by President Trump, bested folk singer Rob Quist 50-44 in the race for the statewide U.S. House of Representatives district.
On Wednesday, the eve of the election, Gianforte allegedly bodyslammed Ben Jacobs, a Jewish reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian, after Jacobs asked a question about health care reform. Jacobs posted audio of the encounter, and Fox News Channel journalists who were present verified the account.
Democrats invested heavily in the race, hoping for a win in order to wound Trump, who won the district by more than 20 points. Ryan Zinke, the previous congressman who left office to become Trump’s Interior secretary, won the district by 16 points.
Three Montana newspapers withdrew support for Gianforte because of the incident, but it’s not clear what effect it had on the vote. Close to 260,000 voters cast ballots in early voting before the incident took place.
There was no indication that Gianforte knew or cared that Jacobs was Jewish when he allegedly threw him to the ground and broke his glasses, leading to misdemeanor assault charges.
On far-right websites and social media, anti-Semitic posters noted Jacobs’ Jewishness and praised Gianforte.