Republican Greg Gianforte won a special election yesterday to fill Montana's vacant U.S. House seat, and used his victory speech to apologize to a reporter he's charged with having assaulted the night before, putting his hands on the reporter's neck and throwing him to the ground and punching him after he'd asked him a question. Gianforte beat Democrat Rob Quist for the seat vacated when President Trump tapped former Rep. Ryan Zinke to be his Secretary of the Interior. Although the seat has been held by a Republican for 20 years in the conservative state, Democrats had hoped they might be able to ride a backlash to Trump to a win. In the end, Gianforte beat Quist 50 percent to 44 percent.
In his victory speech, Gianforte apologized for an alleged attack on The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before, for which he's been charged with misdemeanor assault. He said, "Last night I made a mistake and I took an action I can't take back and I am not proud of what happened. I should not have responded the way I did and for that I am sorry." He said of Jacobs, "I should not have treated that reporter that way and for that I'm sorry, Mr. Jacobs." After issuing a statement Wednesday night that had blamed the incident on Jacobs, Gianforte had stayed out of sight on Thursday, not saying anything before the election results were announced.