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Montana Special Election By the Numbers

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Greg Gianforte, the Montana Republican who has an upcoming court date for body-slamming a reporter on the eve of his special election to the House of Representatives, has won handily. Gianforte, who was charged with misdemeanor assault, officially won the election early this morning.

Gianforte could be heard on an audio tape yelling at the reporter, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian.

The final unofficial tally in Thursday's election showed wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte with 50.2 percent of the vote, compared to Democratic musician Rob Quist with 44.1 percent.

Gianforte apologized personally to Jacobs 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".

As the glowing bruiser took his victory lap and addressed his supporters, he did take a moment to acknowledge the incident, telling the cheering crowd that, "Last night, I learned a lesson". I should not have treated that reporter that way and, for that, I'm sorry Mr. "Ben Jacobs", he said.

Perhaps Gianforte viewed his violent attack as an asset to his campaign, rather than a scandal that would threaten his chances at the last minute.

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On Wednesday, in front of a Fox News crew that was setting up for an interview, Jacobs confronted Gianforte about the new CBO report on the American Health Care Act. Ryan would not say whether he and fellow House Republican leaders would agree to seat Gianforte should the candidate win but the Speaker suggested that the wishes of Montana voters would be respected. And when you make a mistake, you have to own up to it.

After the altercation, Gianforte's campaign issued a statement blaming the reporter and the candidate stayed out of sight.

Montana held a special congressional election to fill the seat of Ryan Zinke, who vacated his House seat to serve as secretary of the interior.

At his victory celebration, Gianforte apologized to Jacobs by name. "That's the Montana way", said Gianforte. "Not quirky personalities." Quist had the support of progressives like Bernie Sanders throughout the increasingly tight race, but pervasive anti-Trump sentiment has yet to propel him-or other Democrats-into Congress.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the apology "a good first step toward redemption and I hope Gianforte continues to work toward righting his wrong".

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