While in Italy on Friday, President Trump remarked on Republican Greg Gianforte’s victory in Montana’s special Congressional election, asserting that the incoming legislator had secured a “great win in Montana.”
Trump offered no further comment on the subject following his unprompted statement to members of the media who are traveling with him on his eight-day, multi-nation international trip.
Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist with just over 50 percent of the vote, besting his opponent by six percentage points. The Republican’s win keeps Montana’s lone seat in the House of Representatives under GOP control after Ryan Zinke vacated it to assume his appointment as secretary of the interior.
The election drew nationwide attention the night before the election when Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault after reportedly body-slamming a reporter who kept insisting on an answer to a question about the then-candidate’s position on the House-passed healthcare legislation. Gianforte issued an apology for the altercation in his victory speech Thursday night.
Trump overwhelmingly won in Montana during the 2016 presidential election, and Gianforte benefitted from significant support from high-profile Republicans, including the president and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom recorded robocalls for the candidate. Pence and Donald Trump Jr. made in-person appearances to rally votes for Gianforte. Fundraising emails were sent by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and the National Rifle Association organized phone-bank efforts for Gianforte.
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