The Montana race focused on Mr Quist's history of financial problems and Mr Gianforte's stance on House Republicans' effort to dismantle Obamacare. The Republican multimillionaire Gianforte won Monday.
(Tommy Martino/The Missoulian via AP). The Republican candidate canceled television interviews and stayed out of sight while the polls were open Thursday.
(AP Photo/Bobby Caina Calvan).
Greg Gianforte, the Republican congressional candidate who allegedly bodyslammed a reporter on the eve before a special election in Montana, has apologized for his actions - a day after saying he didn't do anything wrong.
In Washington, Republican lawmakers reacted to the situation.
Gianforte had unsuccessfully challenged the state's Democratic governor in November, losing that race even as Trump won the state easily.
"From the beginning this race was going to be very hard, particularly for an oddly timed special election still in Trump's 'honeymoon, '" said Meredith Kelly, communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Rep. -elect Gianforte is an outsider with real-world experience creating jobs in Montana".
Democratic attacks against Gianforte centered around an easement disagreement he had with the state over a boundary along the East Gallatin River, which Democrats used to paint Gianforte as against public lands.
The race ultimately turned on the weaknesses of both Gianforte and his opponent, folk singer and Democrat Rob Quist, making it tough to use as a barometer for the nation's political mood.
Republicans said the outcome lifts their hopes approaching two other special elections next month in Georgia and SC. Nearly 70 percent of votes were cast early in the race.
Rural Voters Trended Slightly Toward the Democratic Candidate. The cowboy-hat-wearing musician making his first run for Congress had some financial problems in his past that Republicans jumped on. "That was a thing, a real thing that happened, and we still said, 'Yeah, he should be president'".
Gianforte campaigning with Donald Trump Jr in Montana.
"These are always little stress tests", said Matt Gorman, communications director for the House GOP campaign committee.
Gianforte apologized directly to Jacobs Thursday night and the Fox News crew that saw the incident and said he was "sorry to each one of you, that we had to go through this".
While Gianforte's assault garnered national attention and speculation that it might hurt his chances Thursday, about 276,000 Montanans had already voted by absentee by Wednesday, leaving only about a fourth of the total vote to be cast on Thursday.
Gianforte, who was audibly irritated, reportedly body slammed the reporter. Gianforte's victory preserved the GOP's 24-seat advantage in the House of Representatives.
"I need to share something from my heart here, and I just ask you to bear with me. and when you make a mistake, you have to own up to it. That's the Montana way", he said. He ended up winning the special election, but before that was determined, late-night hosts weighed in on the alleged assault. "I took an action I can't take back and I am not proud of what happened".