A race for an open House seat in Montana took a jaw-dropping twist when a reporter alleged that Republican candidate Greg Gianforte “body slammed” him and broke his glasses on the eve of Election Day.
Late Wednesday night, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s department charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault.
The latest news came just ahead of an already much-anticipated special congressional election in the Big Sky state that pitted a folk-singing Democrat with a spotty financial past against a well-known Republican millionaire and businessman.
Republican Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist face off Thursday to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who President Donald Trump tapped to lead the Department of Interior. Before Wednesday night, Gianforte was viewed as the favorite in a fairly red state, where a Democrat hasn’t held the congressional seat in two decades — but the race is closer than many would have anticipated months ago, and the alleged physical encounter had many wondering if Gianforte might have changed the course of the race overnight.