A newspaper reporter alleged that he was assaulted Wednesday by Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Thursday’s special election for Montana’s open U.S. House seat.
Ben Jacobs, who covers politics for The Guardian, tweeted about the encounter, which occurred at an event in Bozeman.
Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon said in an email statement that Jacobs initiated the confrontation by walking uninvited into Gianforte’s interview with a local television crew.
Jacobs “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions,” Scanlon said. “Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan is calling for the Republican candidate in Montana’s special House election to apologize after allegedly attacking a reporter and getting charged with assault.
Ryan says “that’s wrong and should not happen.”
Gianforte left the event early without speaking, said reporters on the scene.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said his office was investigating “allegations of an assault involving Greg Gianforte.”
Whitney Bermes, a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, confirmed via Twitter that the sheriff’s office and medics were on scene.
Gianforte, 55, a technology entrepreneur, unsuccessfully ran for governor last year. Polls show him with a single-digit lead in Thursday’s special election over Democrat Rob Quist and Libertarian Mark Wicks.
They are running to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who was appointed President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior.
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