Greg Gianforte wins special election in Montana

Greg Gianforte speaks to Republican delegates before a candidate forum March 6 in Helena Mont

Greg Gianforte speaks to Republican delegates before a candidate forum March 6 in Helena Mont

The race became the most expensive U.S. House contest in Montana history, with spending by the campaigns and outside groups topping $18 million, or twice as much as the old record set just past year.

"Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte was right to apologize for his actions in Wednesday's incident", McDaniel said.

Donald Trump won the state of Montana by more than 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

(AP Photo/Bobby Caina Calvan, file).

Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist with 50 percent of the vote to Quist's 44 percent.

(AP Photo/Bobby Caina Calvan, File).

Libertarian Mark Wicks had 6% the vote with 17,655 votes.

The development heightened the drama of an already highly scrutinized special election in the traditional Republican stronghold of Montana, which has proved to be a far closer race than expected.

Republican Greg Gianforte's win in Montana's special election hinged on flaws in both the two major party candidates.

Mr Gianforte's victory is a boost for Republicans, who are anxious Mr Trump's political stumbles and the unpopularity of the healthcare bill passed by the House will hurt their chances to hold a 24-seat House majority in next year's elections.

Gianforte also apologized to Jacobs during his victory speech saying, "I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that, I'm sorry, Mr".

I should not have responded the way I did, for that I'm sorry. But they'll have more chances next month, as candidates battle for House seats in three special elections in California, Georgia and SC.

Gianforte also was rolling up huge margins in the state's rural counties - an area where Quist, a country singer, had hoped he could fare better.

Gianforte's campaign was boosted by rallies featuring Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr. plus millions of dollars in ads by Republican groups.

"Greg Gianforte just body-slammed me and broke my glasses", Jacobs tweeted before news of the incident went viral on social media.

Gianforte's prospects might take a hit, though, after he was cited Wednesday for misdemeanor assault stemming from a scuffle in which the candidate purportedly "body slammed" a reporter asking a question.

The incident was witnessed by a Fox News crew, and recorded audio of it soon became available online.

It had been unclear if Gianforte's assault charge would impact the race.

Shaun Scott, a computer science professor at Carroll College in Helena, said the assault charge was barely a factor in his decision.

"When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it", he said.

Just as questions continue to arise over why Gianforte wasn't brought into the sheriff's office for questioning and what will happen to the Republican now that he must appear in court by June 7, it's time to count the votes in Montana.

His home in Bozeman is set back on property along the Gallatin River and isn't very visible from the road.

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