Here’s What Montana Voters Are Waking Up to After Greg Gianforte’s Assault Charge

The GOP candidate was charged with assault after allegedly attacking a Guardian reporter.

Freddy Monares/Bozeman Daily Chronicle/AP

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In the wake of Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte’s alleged assault of a reporter Wednesday, all three of the state’s largest newspapers have withdrawn their endorsements of him. The papers, which include the Billings Gazette, Missoulian, and Independent Record, pulled their support within hours of the shocking incident, which came on the eve of Montana’s special election to fill the seat of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“If what was heard on tape and described by eye-witnesses is accurate, the incident in Bozeman is nothing short of assault,” an editorial from the Billings Gazette read. “We wouldn’t condone it if it happened on the street. We wouldn’t condone it if it happened in a home or even a late-night bar fight. And we couldn’t accept it from a man who is running to become Montana’s lone Congressional representative.”

Gianforte had touted the newspapers’ endorsements in a campaign video as recently as Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday evening, Guardian news reporter Ben Jacobs approached the GOP candidate with a question regarding the American Health Care Act. According to audio of their exchange, Gianforte quickly grew irritated by the question. Loud thuds can also be heard in the recording. Jacobs contacted the police and Gianforte was charged with assault for allegedly “body-slamming” him.

Shane Scanlon, a spokesman for the Republican candidate, released a statement calling Jacobs a “liberal reporter” and accused him of exhibiting “aggressive behavior.” However, three Fox reporters who witnessed the alleged attack confirmed Jacobs’ account and said they saw Gianforte grab Jacobs by the neck before pummeling him on the ground.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Gianforte’s alleged actions will have an effect on today’s race. Because of Montana’s absentee voter laws, most expected voters have already cast their ballots.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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