You may have heard about Greg Gianforte, the Republican from Montana who allegedly body-slammed a journalist on Wednesday night when asked a question about health care. Well, it seems like he won’t face many consequences for his actions—On Thursday night, Gianforte was elected to the sole congressional seat for Montana, NPR reports.
Until his victory party, Gianforte refused to comment much on the allegations. His campaign released a short statement claiming the journalist, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs, was the aggressive one, not Gianforte himself, despite an audio recording that seemed to contradict this. But at the party, Gianforte apologized to Jacobs and admitted he “made a mistake” and he’s “not proud of what happened.” He added that his actions do not represent who he is, and that they do not represent how he will run the state. Members of the crowed chanted “you’re forgiven” to the new congressman, according to CNN.
The assault happened only a day before the election, and most voters had already cast their ballots through early voting. There’s no way to know if the results would have been different had the incident, which was pretty violent, happened earlier. The audio Jacobs recorded proves that Gianforte got aggressive, and Jacobs ended up with broken glasses and an injured elbow. Three Fox News reporters also witnessed the assault, and they confirmed Jacobs’ story, saying, “To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”
Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault and has to appear in court on June 7. He could face a $500 fine or six months in jail.
At his victory party, Gianforte shared his support for many of Trump’s initiatives, even using some of Trump’s signature slogans, like “We’re going to drain the swamp.” While many voters in Montana told reporters that the assault allegations didn’t impact their opinions of Gianforte, the incident happened so late on election day that it really couldn’t have impacted the results—lucky for Gianforte, as the race for the seat was getting close with Democrat Rob Quist.