Republican Greg Gianforte won the Montana special election Thursday, and used his victory to excuse the speech by Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, accused him of coercion.
To have “if you make a mistake, you are up to it. That is the Montana way,” Gianforte told a crowd that came out to celebrate his victory over Democratic rival Rob Quist.
“Last night, I made a mistake, and I took an action that I can’t take them back, and I’m not proud of what happened. I shouldn’t have replied in the way that I have, and for that I am sorry. I should have not treated the reporter, the way, and for that I am sorry Mr Ben Jacobs.”
Gianforte was a strong favorite to defeat Quist and continued even after his incident with Jacobs. Witnesses, including a Fox News crew, said Gianforte grabbed Jacobs and slammed him to the ground, while screaming “Get the hell out of here!” Jacobs was grilling Gianforte about the Republican health care bill.
The Republican was cited for misdemeanor assault hours before the polls opened, in the state of Montana. He ignored calls from national Republicans to apologize to the reporter before his victory speech.
The win reaffirms Montana voters support for Trump. The Democrats are now 0-for-3 in special elections, had lost, in Kansas and Georgia districts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.