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Slam Dunk

One day after bodyslamming reporter, Republican politician gets elected, vows to 'drain the swamp'

Greg Gianforte has defeated his Democrat rival Rob Quist comfortably in the Montana special election.

gian Greg Gianforte making his victory speech Youtube Youtube

REPUBLICAN GREG GIANFORTE has been elected to a Montana seat one day after allegedly bodyslamming a reporter and breaking his glasses.

Gianforte became involved in an altercation with Guardian US reporter Ben Jacobs on Wednesday on the final day after campaigning after Jacobs asked him a question about the American Health Care Act, the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The incident was witnessed by a Fox News crew, and recorded audio of it soon became available online.

Guardian Wires / YouTube

Despite facing a charge of assault, Gianforte has nevertheless emerged victorious in the special election for the state’s vacant seat, formerly held by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

Gianforte won the seat relatively comfortably with 50.6% of the vote compared with 43.6% for his nearest rival, Democrat Rob Quist.

At his acceptance speech in the city of Bozeman, Gianforte apologised to Jacobs:

“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it, that’s the Montana way,” he said.

I should not have responded the way I did, for that I’m sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry Mr Ben Jacobs.

jusing Twitter Twitter

Shouts from the crowd echoed back: “You’re forgiven.”

The election result is a major blow to Democrats – the race had been seen as something of a litmus-test for how badly the scandals of the Trump Administration were affecting Republican chances statewide.

In his victory speech, Gianforte spoke from much of the Trump playbook, saying that his was “a victory for our coal and timber families” which “sends a message to the Washington establishment that we will drain the swamp”.

Rural Montana is a reliably Republican state, having voted for the GOP in every election bar two since 1952.

Trump himself won the state in a landslide during the 2016 election, emerging victorious by over 20 points.

Read: Walkers apologises after competition saw Gary Lineker holding pictures of serial killers and paedophiles

Read: Manchester bomber ‘asked his mother for forgiveness in final phone call’

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