Despite having a very tumultuous 24 hours Republican candidate Greg Gianforte has won his bid for Congress. Giangorte won 50.3% of the vote while his opponent Rob Quist received 44%.
Democrats had poured a massive amount of money into Quist campaign and were hoping for a symbolic win to show that the country was fed up. Huffington Post reports:
Your voices were definitely heard in this election,” Quist told supporters after the results were final. “I know we came up short, but the energy in the state and the grassroots movement in the state goes on.”
The defeat is especially demoralizing for Democrats in light of the misdemeanor assault charge against Gianforte, a multimillionaire tech entrepreneur and social conservative, for allegedly “body slamming” Ben Jacobs of The Guardian on Wednesday while the reporter was asking about the GOP health care bill. Gianforte’s campaign blamed Jacobs, casting him as a “liberal reporter” who acted “aggressively” toward the Republican as he was about to be interviewed by a TV crew. But Alicia Acuna, the Fox News reporter who was slated to interview Gianforte, corroborated Jacobs’ version of events, and the incident spurred widespread condemnation of the Republican.
“Last night I made a mistake,” Gianforte said in his victory speech Thursday night. “I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I’m sorry.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the liberal group MoveOn.org had blasted Gianforte with a last-minute ad campaign highlighting the incident as evidence he was “unfit to serve” and had “no business being in Congress.”
A factor likely benefiting Gianforte was that before news broke of Wednesday’s altercation, more than two-thirds of those who voted in the election had cast early ballots, according to state election officials. Still, Quist’s loss will inevitably fuel criticism that the national Democratic Party got involved in the race too late.
Even before Thursday’s results were known, Jeff Hauser, a veteran progressive political strategist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Revolving Door Project, had told HuffPost that “the national Democrats who provided financial assistance after mail-in voting had already begun will have to question anew their initial reluctance to engage in the race in March and early April.”
“Early funding might have ensured more consistent tracking on Gianforte,” Hauser added, referring to the attack on the reporter. “It almost seems like you never know when Gianforte might commit a crime under a modicum of scrutiny.”
“When this race started, I thought Quist had a 1-in-5 chance,” Jorge Quintana, a Democratic National Committee member from Montana, told HuffPost. “I don’t think any Democrat has been disappointed with the way Quist has behaved in this campaign. He has raised a ton of money. And he has hit the state hard ― Montanans expect that.”
Well, the news stories claim Democrats came up short however when you hear statements from the DNC this sounds like the outcome was expected. It looks operatives were hoping that the assault that Gianforte has yet to apologize for would give Quist a boost.
Source: Huffington Post