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Body Slam Politics

Today there is an election in Montana to fill the congressional seat vacated by Ryan Zinke when he became Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior. Montana only has one congressperson, and the state (and thus that district) went for Trump by 20 percentage points. So the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, has been expected to win.

Except that last night, on the eve of the election, Gianforte grabbed a reporter by the neck and body slammed him to the ground (breaking his glasses), then started punching him and yelled at him to “Get the hell out of here.”

Gianforte’s campaign issued a statement trying to blame the altercation on the reporter, saying “It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.” They also claim that the reporter grabbed Gianforte.

However, eyewitnesses (including a three person news crew from Fox News) contradicted Gianforte’s statement, saying that they didn’t see any physical aggression on the part of the reporter. In addition, an audio recording of the whole thing also directly contradicts Gianforte’s version of the event. In other words, they lied.

The local Sheriff’s office has now cited Gianforte with assault. In addition, at least three large Montana newspapers withdrew their endorsement of Gianforte after the attack. They also noted that previous “jokes” that Gianforte had previously made about beating up reporters were troubling.

The problem is that like many states, Montana allows early voting by mail, and so it is likely that a majority of ballots have already been cast (and cannot be changed). Will the remaining votes today be enough to swing the election? Stay tuned.



  1. Wildwood wrote:

    I know Bernie has been there campaigning for the other side, and the guy was closing in. This makes a good argument against early voting. Perhaps a criminal charge should negate previously cast ballots and require people to vote again. Perhaps they could show up at the polls and say I want to change my vote.

    Then there are those who will find Gianforte’s actions very appealing. Those sick puppies might not have voted yet and this might bring them out of the woodwork. We shall see.

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink
  2. Ralph wrote:

    Well, perhaps we’ll soon find out how much the good people of Montana have taken the Trump mantra on the press to heart.

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  3. rk wrote:

    I don’t think there’s any problem with early voting. The same thing could have happened the day after the election. But we may need a faster mechanism to remove people from office, or the election itself.

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Unfortunately, Montana law does not allow a voter to change their vote after it has been cast.

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  5. Wildwood wrote:

    It would be complicated to allow voters to change their minds, but I think it would still be a good idea if a way to make it work could be found. I never vote early, even if I’m totally convinced of who or what I’m voting for. You never know what can happen in those weeks, days or even hours before the election.

    Friday, May 26, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  6. notycoon wrote:

    Picked this up from Der Spiegel today.

    “The U.S. elected a laughing stock to the presidency and has now made itself dependent on a joke of a man.”

    Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  7. rk wrote:

    That’s only what everyone knows but no one is willing to say.

    Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink