Montana GOP congressional candidate accused of body slamming reporter — one day before special election

The Guardian published audio of Greg Gianforte allegedly assaulting a reporter who asked about Trumpcare

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published May 24, 2017 8:56PM (EDT)

Greg Gianforte      (Fox Business)
Greg Gianforte (Fox Business)

One day ahead of a special election to fill a Montana congressional seat left vacant by former Republican congressman Ryan Zinke, who left to head the Department of Interior, the Republican running in the closer-than-expected race stands accused of body-slamming a political reporter.

The Guardian's Ben Jacobs tweeted on Wednesday that Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Thursday's special election, bodyslammed him and broke his glasses at an event in Bozeman. In audio of the incident published by The Guardian, it appears that the alleged attack came after Jacobs asked Gianforte about the newly released Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Jacobs claimed that Gianforte repeatedly yelled at him to “Get the hell out of here.”

"I'm sick and tired of you guys. The last time you were here you did the same thing," Gianforte is allegedly heard saying on audio posted by the Guardian.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Jacobs was evaluated in an ambulance at the scene. The local paper also reported that Gallatin County deputies had spoken to Gianforte before letting him leave -- ahead of his scheduled campaign event.

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs told his paper, The Guardian. The national political reporter had previously reported on Gianforte's financial ties to U.S.-sanctioned Russian companies.

Gianforte, a tech millionaire originally from New Jersey who has been accused of being a carpetbagger, is locked in a closely contested battle with Democrat Rob Quist and Libertarian Mark Wicks ahead of tomorrow's special election.

In a statement, Gianforte’s campaign claimed Jacobs entered a private office “without permission” and attributed the incident to “aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist.”

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Ben Jacobs Body Slam Greg Gianforte Montana Montana Special Election Special Election Video Violence