GOP Sweats As Montana Voters Go To The Polls
By all measurable standards, the Montana special election today was supposed to be an easy victory for the Republican Party.
Just a few months ago, President Donald Trump won the state by over 20 points and over the years, current Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke whose seat the election is meant to fill carried the state handily.
So why the sudden tightening in this race? Why are the Republicans suddenly sweating this race on this final day?
One simple answer: Greg Gianforte.
To begin with, he is a bad candidate; arrogant, confrontational and not easy to get along with.
Just last night there were reports that the GOP standard bearer was involved in an altercation with Ben Jacobs, a reporter with The Guardian newspaper.
The GOP candidate was later charged with misdemeanor assault for body slamming the reporter.
Media accounts and an audio recording released by The Guardian newspaper indicated the reporter was attempting to ask a legitimate question about the recently passed GOP health care bill (Trumpcare) that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said will leave up to 23 million American without health insurance in 10 years.
Apparently, Greg Gianforte who has waffled back and forth these past few week on where he stood on the GOP bill didn’t want to talk about it.
It is not clear how Montana voters will react to the incident but it has already taken its toll on the GOP candidate. Several influential Montana newspapers withdrew their endorsements of the Republican saying his actions were not consistent with the state’s values.
Strategists from both parties confirmed to The Liberal Advocate News Thursday that the polls have tightened leading up to till today with Democrat Rob Quist just a few points away from the GOP candidate who had been expected to win the race easily.
“We are literally in a dog fight right now,” said a Montana Republican familiar with the race before the GOP candidate’s altercation and subsequent misdemeanor charge.
“I think it is essentially a toss-up. It’s really tightening up. The nationalization of the race contributed to a lot of that.”
The race was never supposed to be this close or this uncomfortable for the Republicans.
Greg Gianforte, a multi-millionaire technology entrepreneur was leading by double digits after the state’s convention in March but all that changed when the Democrats decided to nationalize the race.
Though Gianforte has name recognition throughout the state, having run for the state’s governorship in the past, he found himself on the defense following a number of unforced errors.
First he said he was against the GOP health care bill, then a leaked audio recording revealed him praising the same bill.
Meanwhile, Democrat Rob Quist who supports single payer system wrapped the health bill around his neck, forcing him to backpedal a few times.
Democrats believe that they have a good chance of winning the race and sending a strong message to President Donald Trump.
They believe they can achieve the same results they just saw in the New York State senatorial election which saw a Democrat win in a district Trump carried on a few months ago by double digits.
Update – U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has called on the GOP candidate to apologize for his role in the altercation.
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