Republican Greg Gianforte is projected to soundly defeat Democrat Rob Quist in Thursday’s special election for the only Montana U.S. House seat.
At press time, Gianforte held a 50.5 percent to 43.7 percent lead with 70 percent of the precincts reporting. Gianforte had more than 136,000 votes, topping Quist by more than 18,000. A Libertarian candidate picked up 5.8 percent.
Gianforte survived a last-minute offensive by the mainstream media, which rallied around a left-wing Guardian reporter claiming that Gianforte “bodyslammed” him at a campaign event Wednesday night. No video was provided of the incident, and eyewitness reports differed on what actually happened.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, always a pinprick in any balloon of Deplorable enthusiasm, called on Gianforte to apologize.
Democrats tried to downplay expectations in the race, even though Montana has a Democratic governor and Steve Daines’ 2014 win was the first Republican Senate victory in the state since 2000.
Gianforte was boosted by the recent campaign appearance of Don Trump Jr., an avid hunter who helped galvanize crowds for the popular Republican candidate. Don Jr. was a key member of his father’s presidential campaign and looked like a stone-cold killer in the audience while his father tore apart Hillary Clinton in the second televised debate.
Trump supporters have expressed to Big League Politics their disappointment that Don Jr. did not become a White House adviser when his father got elected. Rather, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner — now a person of interest in an FBI investigation — was given a senior advisory role, despite not understanding or following through on any of the themes, attitudes, or policies that shaped the historic Trump effort.
Don Jr., the avid Deplorable and Twitter ‘Fake News’ critic, has contributed to another feel-good Republican win.
But the victory belongs to Gianforte. The defeat, meanwhile, can be shared many different ways.