Polls Closing in Montana Special Election

Terrell Bush
May 26, 2017

During the U.S. House election in 2012, also a year when a presidential race was on the ballot, Republican Steve Daines won the county with a 3.25 percent lead over Democrat Kim Gillan, with a little more than 76 percent of the 44,448 registered county voters participating.

An audio tape released by Jacobs seemed to show a different story, with Gianforte snapping when Jacobs asked for his stance on the recently passed health care bill.

Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist are seeking to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to become President Donald Trump's Interior secretary. He faces a $500 fine and six months in jail if convicted, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office said.

Those who want to find live results of the 2017 Montana special election will be able to follow all the vote totals and see if Republican Greg Gianforte's last-minute arrest for allegedly assaulting a reporter will throw a wrench in what should have been an easy win for the GOP.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, addressed the allegations against Gianforte in a statement.

"When Gianforte grabbed him by the neck, both hands, um slid him to the side, body-slammed him and then got on top of him, and started punching and then um yelling at him", Acuna said.

The polls are open in a race for Montana's only congressional seat just hours after the front-running candidate was charged with beating up a reporter.

"I will only vote for a repeal and replace that brings premiums down, protects people with pre-existing conditions, and protects rural access", Gianforte told a news station in Missoula on Wednesday.

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.

Stier said he thinks both Gianforte and the reporter, Ben Jacobs, should apologize to each other.

There were reports of voters who had already mailed in their ballots asking if they could change their votes following the Gianforte news.

According to audio from Jacobs, after he pressed Gianforte for his reaction to the CBO score, the would-be congressman then body-slammed him to the ground, breaking his glasses and injuring his elbow.

Mr Trump and Vice President Mike Pence recorded robocalls to voters on Mr Gianforte's behalf, and Republican groups poured millions into ads criticising Mr Quist for property tax liens and unpaid debts, which Mr Quist said stemmed from a botched gallbladder surgery.

Republican lawmakers criticized Gianforte but stopped short of asking him to withdraw from the race.

Gianforte was a strong favorite throughout the campaign and that continued even after authorities charged him with misdemeanor assault on Wednesday. He also used the platform to apologize to the reporter he allegedly assaulted on election eve and a Fox News team that witnessed the encounter.

While there was scant polling in the state during the campaign, Gianforte was widely expected to take the seat. Gianforte has been ordered to appear in court by June 7. "We are committed to holding power to account and we stand by Ben and our team of reporters for the questions they ask and the reporting that is produced". He's accused of grabbing Jacobs by the throat and throwing him to the ground in his campaign office Wednesday night. Duncan Hunter said the candidate was in the wrong unless the reporter had it coming.

He said, "I learned a lesson".

Three Montana newspapers - the Billings Gazette, the Missoulian, and the Independent Record - took the nearly unheard of step of retracting endorsements of Gianforte.

Jacobs told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday that he never touched Gianforte.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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