Journalist attacked by Montana GOP Congressional candidate

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the assault case against Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for a Montana congressional seat in a Thursday special election.  Polls open at 7 a.m. Mountain Time today.(all times local):

5 a.m.

The Guardian reporter who authorities say was assaulted by a Montana Republican candidate for a U.S. House seat says he never touched the politician before he was thrown to the ground.

Ben Jacobs told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he was doing his job and asking a question of candidate Greg Gianforte as part of covering Thursday’s special election.

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault. He’s accused of grabbing Jacobs by the throat and throwing him to the ground in his campaign office Wednesday night. Gianforte’s campaign blamed Jacobs, saying the reporter was being aggressive and grabbed Gianforte.

Jacobs said Thursday of Gianforte’s account that “the only thing that is factually correct … is my name and place of employment.”

Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist are seeking to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to join Trump’s Cabinet as secretary of the Interior Department.

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12:30 a.m.

Thursday’s special election for Montana’s sole congressional seat got a last-minute twist when the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Greg Gianforte was cited for grabbing a reporter by the throat and throwing him to the ground in his campaign office Wednesday night. The reporter, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, was asking Gianforte about the Republican health care bill. Three Fox News employees witnessed the attack, which was also captured on an audio recording.

Gianforte’s campaign blamed Jacobs for the incident.

Many voters cast their ballot early so it’ll be hard to know the impact of the charge on the election results. Authorities said Jacobs’ injuries weren’t severe enough for a felony assault charge.

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