Special Election

Franks Blames ‘the Left’ for Gianforte’s Body Slam
Arizona Republicans says there has been ‘confrontational attitude for several months now’

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said he has faced physical confrontations with activists, even at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana’s incoming congressman Greg Gianforte faced muted criticism from his future Republican colleagues for allegedly assaulting a reporter.

But Arizona Rep. Trent Franks put the blame on the left in an interview Thursday with news radio station KTAR in Phoenix.

How GOP Outside Spending Turned a Loser Into a Winner in Montana
Congressional Leadership Fund spent $2.7 million to boost Greg Gianforte

Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s at-large House seat Thursday despite attacking a reporter the night before. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Six months ago, Republican Greg Gianforte lost Montana’s gubernatorial election by nearly 4 points. Thursday night, he won statewide by about 6 points.

Congressional special elections are, well, special. The electorate is different, and so is the spending. Last fall, Gianforte was running against an incumbent.

Republican Gianforte Wins Montana Special Election
Greg Gianforte prevails despite misdemeanor assault citation on eve of election

Montana Republican Greg Gianforte is heading to Congress after winning a hard-fought special election on Thursday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated 4:34 a.m. | Republican Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s at-large House seat Thursday night.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, he led Democrat Rob Quist 50 percent to 44 percent, The Associated Press reported. Gianforte will fill the seat vacated by former GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke, who left to become Interior secretary.

Gaetz Makes Gianforte Joke, Gets Schooled
Florida congressman jokes about reporter who ‘occasionally deserved it’

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on April 26, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz got a lesson on the state’s Stand Your Ground law after he made a joke about Montana congressional candidate’s alleged attack on a reporter.

The morning after Republican Greg Gianforte allegedly attacked a reporter for asking whether he supported the Republican health care bill after its Congressional Budget Office scoring was released, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz joked that an editor at the Tampa Bay Times has “occasionally deserved” something similar.

GOP Leaders Careful on Response to Gianforte Assault Charges
Trump, Pence remain mum on incident

Montana Republican candidate Greg Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault of a reporter Wednesday night, a day before the special election for the state’s lone House seat. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By JOHN T. BENNETT And REMA RAHMAN

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan became the first Republican leader to address Montana GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte’s alleged assault on a reporter, saying, “There’s never a call for physical assault.”

Can Quist Chart Path for Other Democrats to Follow?
While national Democrats focus on Trump and Russia, Montana House candidate talks health care

Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist talks with supporters during a Get Out The Vote Canvass Launch event in Great Falls, Mont., on Monday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

While national Democrats compile lists of President Donald Trump’s controversial statements, firings, and ties to Russia as ammunition for upcoming campaigns, Democrat Rob Quist is taking a different approach.

Though Quist’s Republican opponent for Montana’s at-large seat in Congress, businessman Greg Gianforte, is favored to win the special election Thursday, Quist has gained ground recently. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales changed the race from a Likely Republican rating to Tilts Republican on Monday. His campaign announced Tuesday that he's raised more than $6 million, which has been crucial in the final days of the race.

Opinion: Democrats May Be Too Optimistic About 2018 Gains
Ghosts of racial discord still haunt the South

Congressional districts in North Carolina were too racially driven even for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina turned out to be too racially driven for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives — with Justice Clarence Thomas siding with the majority.

Who’d have thought it?

Montana Candidate Gianforte Cited for Misdemeanor Assault
Witnesses say Republican body-slammed and punched journalist

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet at Lions Park on May 23, 2017 in Great Falls, Montana. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated Thursday 1:08 a.m. | Greg Gianforte, the Republican nominee in Thursday’s special election in Montana, was cited for a misdemeanor assault Wednesday evening after allegedly assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman earlier that day.

On the eve of a special election in which many early votes have already been cast, it’s unclear what effect the incident could have on what has been expected to be a close race. Gianforte has been ahead by single digits in most public and private polling. But Montana’s largest newspapers pulled their endorsements of the two-time GOP candidate Wednesday night, and Democratic outside groups lost no time producing digital ads using Jacobs’ audio of the altercation. 

Montana Special Election Will Be a Close Race: 3 Things to Watch

Big Spending in Montana Portends a Close Election
Two flawed candidates battle for at-large district Thursday

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet Tuesday in Great Falls, Montana.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated 9:48 p.m. | Ahead of Thursday night’s “body-slamming” incident, most bets were on Republican nominee Greg Gianforte, who’s led by single digits in recent public and private polling, winning Montana’s at-large House seat on Thursday.

But that’d still be a dramatic shift from President Donald Trump’s 20-point victory in the state last fall.