montana

Gaetz Makes Gianforte Joke, Gets Schooled
Florida congressman jokes about reporter who ‘occasionally deserved it’

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on April 26, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz got a lesson on the state’s Stand Your Ground law after he made a joke about Montana congressional candidate’s alleged attack on a reporter.

The morning after Republican Greg Gianforte allegedly attacked a reporter for asking whether he supported the Republican health care bill after its Congressional Budget Office scoring was released, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz joked that an editor at the Tampa Bay Times has “occasionally deserved” something similar.

GOP Leaders Careful on Response to Gianforte Assault Charges
Trump, Pence remain mum on incident

Montana Republican candidate Greg Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault of a reporter Wednesday night, a day before the special election for the state’s lone House seat. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By JOHN T. BENNETT And REMA RAHMAN

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan became the first Republican leader to address Montana GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte’s alleged assault on a reporter, saying, “There’s never a call for physical assault.”

Gianforte Endorsements Rescinded After Assault Charge
Montana House candidate charged on eve of election after altercation with reporter

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte looks on during a campaign meet and greet in Missoula, Mont., on Wednesday. Gianforte was later charged with assault after he allegedly attacked a reporter. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Can Quist Chart Path for Other Democrats to Follow?
While national Democrats focus on Trump and Russia, Montana House candidate talks health care

Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist talks with supporters during a Get Out The Vote Canvass Launch event in Great Falls, Mont., on Monday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

While national Democrats compile lists of President Donald Trump’s controversial statements, firings, and ties to Russia as ammunition for upcoming campaigns, Democrat Rob Quist is taking a different approach.

Though Quist’s Republican opponent for Montana’s at-large seat in Congress, businessman Greg Gianforte, is favored to win the special election Thursday, Quist has gained ground recently. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales changed the race from a Likely Republican rating to Tilts Republican on Monday. His campaign announced Tuesday that he's raised more than $6 million, which has been crucial in the final days of the race.

Montana Candidate Gianforte Cited for Misdemeanor Assault
Witnesses say Republican body-slammed and punched journalist

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet at Lions Park on May 23, 2017 in Great Falls, Montana. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated Thursday 1:08 a.m. | Greg Gianforte, the Republican nominee in Thursday’s special election in Montana, was cited for a misdemeanor assault Wednesday evening after allegedly assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman earlier that day.

On the eve of a special election in which many early votes have already been cast, it’s unclear what effect the incident could have on what has been expected to be a close race. Gianforte has been ahead by single digits in most public and private polling. But Montana’s largest newspapers pulled their endorsements of the two-time GOP candidate Wednesday night, and Democratic outside groups lost no time producing digital ads using Jacobs’ audio of the altercation. 

Montana Special Election Will Be a Close Race: 3 Things to Watch

Big Spending in Montana Portends a Close Election
Two flawed candidates battle for at-large district Thursday

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet Tuesday in Great Falls, Montana.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated 9:48 p.m. | Ahead of Thursday night’s “body-slamming” incident, most bets were on Republican nominee Greg Gianforte, who’s led by single digits in recent public and private polling, winning Montana’s at-large House seat on Thursday.

But that’d still be a dramatic shift from President Donald Trump’s 20-point victory in the state last fall.

19 House Races Shift Toward Democrats
List of competitive seats grows amid shifts against president’s party

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s race for re-election has switched from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The midterm elections are still nearly a year and a half away, and the political dynamics could yet change, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that history and the current environment are merging together for a potentially great set of elections for Democrats in November 2018. 

The president’s party has lost House seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, and it’s lost an average of 33 seats in those 18 elections. Democrats need to gain 24 seats in order to take back the majority. 

Opinion: Montana Special Election Unlikely to Predict Larger Political Trend
But get ready for a barrage of talking points

Democrat Rob Quist, right, is vying with Republican Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. (Courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

Sometime after 10 p.m. Thursday in Washington, everyone in politics will feign being an expert on Montana or, as they will call it with an insider’s flourish, Big Sky Country. The returns from the first statewide race of the Trump era will inevitably trigger the type of frenzied over-analysis reserved for special elections at moments of political turmoil.

If the Republicans hang on to the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the sighs of relief from imperiled GOP incumbents may set off every wind chime in the D.C. area. Greg Gianforte, who ran 47,000 votes behind Donald Trump in a losing 2016 bid for governor, brings to the race two decided advantages — he is rich (he sold his software company for $1.5 billion in 2011) and he is a Republican.

Rating Change: Montana Special Creeps Closer to Tossup
Voters to decide Thursday who will replace Interior Secretary Zinke

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won last year’s Democratic presidential primary in Montana, campaigned over the weekend with Democratic House candidate Rob Quist. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The special election for Montana’s at-large House seat hasn’t received as much as attention as the race in Georgia, but it’s a similar storyline: Democrats are doing better than expected and an upset is within the realm of possibility.

Less than a week before the Thursday, May 25, election, wealthy former software executive Greg Gianforte has a narrow advantage over his Democratic opponent, musician Rob Quist. But Quist recently crossed the $5 million fundraising threshold, giving him ample resources to deliver his message in the final days in a relatively cheap state for advertising.