Montana Republican waits to apologize for assaulting reporter until after he wins

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"I'm sorry", he said.

Gianforte has since apologised for his behaviour, saying it is "the Montana way" to own up to mistakes. Ryan Zinke, the previous congressman who left office to become Trump's Interior secretary, won the district by 16 points. The altercation occurred when Jacobs tried to ask Gianforte about the CBO score of the Republicans' health care bill. The Republican candidate canceled television interviews and stayed out of sight while the polls were open Thursday.

"Last night I learned a lesson".

Gianforte and Quist were polar opposites in the race: The Republican had electoral experience from a previous but failed run at the Montana governorship past year, whereas Quist was a novice.

New York Magazine cited sources close to KECI's news director, Julie Weindel, who told NBC News, "The person that tweeted [Jacobs] and was allegedly body slammed is a reporter for a politically biased publication".

The altercation didn't stop him from capturing 50 percent of the vote against opponent Rob Quist's 44 percent, according to the most recent tally from Decision Desk HQ, a favorable result that hardly seemed in doubt after nearly two-thirds of the ballots were cast in early voting in the GOP-friendly state. I am not proud of what happened. Three Montana news publications withdrew their endorsements, and even House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned Gianforte's actions. Last night I did make a mistake.

Greg Gianforte campaigning with Donald Trump Jr.

Spot for the First Time Ever
Fox News , meanwhile, finished in third place in that category for the first time since June 2000. There hasn't been a horse race like this in cable news in quite some time. if ever .

He is scheduled to appear in court in June. Democratic candidate Quist received 93.7% of Hillary Clinton's November vote total.

"I would rather not have seen that situation, but if you have somebody sticking a phone in your face, a mic in your face, over and over, and you don't know how to deal with the situation, you haven't really done that, you haven't dealt with that, I can see where it can. make you a little angry", Scott said.

While Gianforte's assault garnered national attention and speculation that it might hurt his chances Thursday, about 276,000 Montanans had already voted by absentee by Wednesday, leaving only about a fourth of the total vote to be cast on Thursday.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded robocalls urging voters not to let the Democrats take the seat. Democrats were initially hopeful that he'd appeal to Montana's right-leaning voters who have a history of electing Democratic mavericks.

Gianforte: Get the h*** out of here.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and used the Wednesday night incident, involving reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, in online and radio ads to spur last-minute voter registration and turnout.