Gianforte charged with assaulting reporter

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"He took me to the ground", Jacobs told his paper.

Audio of the confrontation suggests Gianforte grew angry after Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs put his recorder close to the candidate's face while asking questions about the House GOP healthcare bill. "Okay, speak with Shane, please", says Gianforte, referring to his spokesman, Shane Scanlon.

Rep. Luke Messer, R-Indiana, offered perhaps the most forthright take on the political ramifications of the incident when he said of Gianforte: "I'm not sure whether it will hurt him or help him".

Reporter Alicia Acuna wrote that "Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him".

The audio then gets garbled as the ad turns to a grim-looking photograph of Mr. Gianforte, as well as headlines that read "Fox News witness says Gainforte slammed report to the ground, punched him in the face" and "Gianforte charged with election eve assault".

GOP technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte's chances of winning a House election likely didn't improve when assault charges were filed against him Wednesday.

Repeated phone calls to Greg Gianforte's cellphone went unreturned Thursday.

“Get the hell out of here, ” Gianforte says. Sometimes they produce responses that illuminate the candidate's mentality; sometimes they add texture to a debate; most of the time they yield yet another recitation of a talking point that gets hauled out at every campaign stop.

"While we may not know all of the specifics of the incident until the investigation has concluded, we know that we can no longer support Gianforte's candidacy", it said. He would not answer questions about why he contributed or whether he regularly donates to campaigns, saying that "doesn't have anything to do with the incident".

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Three of Montanas biggest newspapers pulled their endorsements of Gianforte — without endorsing his opponent — while leaders of both major parties called on him to apologize.

The Latest on the assault case against Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for a Montana congressional seat in a Thursday special election.

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, congressman Steve Stivers, also weighed in, saying: "From what I know of Greg Gianforte, this was totally out of character, but we all make mistakes". "They deserve to have their voices heard in Washington". "I'm not surprised he got smacked".

"I think he should apologize". He said it "goes back to kind of what we're seeing in our country right now, this lack of civility and respect that politicians may have for the free press and the free press not showing deference and respect to people that are putting themselves out there to run for office".

Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who is up for re-election in 2018 in what's expected to be a highly competitive race, said in a statement that the incident was now "in the hands of law enforcement. And we couldn't accept it from a man who is running to become Montana's lone Congressional representative". "It's part of the job".

Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist are seeking to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to join Trump's Cabinet as secretary of the Interior Department.

Gianforte has backed out of at least one planned television appearance.

Democrat Rob Quist - A 69-year-old singer-songwriter and self-described small businessman from the town of Cut Bank, where he grew up on the highline, a rural corner of the state.