Perhaps you thought the crazy rollercoaster that is America’s electoral culture ended last November and we could all get a moment’s peace between now and whenever the next presidential election kicks into high gear (whoops, it already has), but you were wrong. For 36 whirlwind hours, the nation was fixated on the Montana special election and the volcanic temperament of the victor, Greg Gianforte.
Thank you, Montana. I am humbled by this incredible honor. I will always be on Montana's side. pic.twitter.com/yZtYbPtRAl
— Greg Gianforte (@GregForMontana) May 26, 2017
As you may have heard, Gianforte is accused of body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, in a report that was corroborated by multiple witnesses and an audio recording of the incident. The Gallatin County Sheriff has charged Gianforte with a misdemeanor assault, but that didn’t stop him from narrowly winning the special election for Montana’s open US House seat against Democratic opponent Rob Quist.
Gianforte was a heavy favorite to win the election going into this week, and he had a substantially heavier financial backing than Quist did. Gianforte also enjoyed the endorsements of numerous influential public figures and newspapers, though a few very vocally withdrew their endorsement after the attack on Jacobs.
According to CNN, Gianforte apologized in his acceptance speech, saying he was “not proud” of his behavior, and adding that “I should not have responded the way I did, for that I’m sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.”