The Latest: Quist declines to comment on Gianforte scuffle

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The Latest: Quist declines to comment on Gianforte scuffle
The Latest: Quist declines to comment on Gianforte scuffle

HELENA, Mont. (AP) – The Latest on assault allegations against Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte (all times local):

7:50 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Democrat Rob Quist declined to comment about allegations that his opponent body slammed a reporter on the eve of a special election for Montana’s sole congressional seat.

Tina Olechowski says Quist was making the rounds across the state to thank volunteers and was on his way to Missoula on Wednesday when the altercation involving Republican Greg Gianforte happened.

Gianforte’s campaign says Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs entered a private office without permission and “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face.” Campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon says Gianforte tried to grab Jacobs’ phone, then Jacobs grabbed the candidate’s wrist and they both fell.

Authorities say they’re investigating allegations of assault.

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7:25 p.m.

Democrats say the Republican candidate for Montana’s sole congressional seat must quit after being accused of attacking a reporter on the day before the special election.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Tyler Law says the Republican Party should publicly denounce Greg Gianforte and apologize for the millions of dollars they spent on his behalf.

Authorities say they’re investigating allegations of assault.

The Gianforte campaign says Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs entered a private office without permission and “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face.” Campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon says Gianforte tried to grab Jacobs’ phone, then Jacobs grabbed the candidate’s wrist and they both fell.

In an audio recording posted by the newspaper, Gianforte can be heard saying that he was “sick and tired of you guys” and to “get the hell out of here.”

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7 p.m.

The campaign for the Republican candidate for Montana’s sole congressional seat accused of attacking a reporter says he was trying to grab the reporter’s phone and later both lost their balance.

Greg Gianforte campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said the candidate was in a private office Wednesday giving an interview when Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission.

He says Gianforte tried to grab the phone being used as an audio recorder. He says Jacobs then grabbed Gianforte’s wrist and both apparently fell to the ground.

A special election to fill the U.S House seat is Thursday.

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6:40 p.m.

A reporter for the Guardian newspaper is alleging that the Republican candidate for Montana’s sole congressional seat “body-slammed” him on the day before the special election.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office says it’s investigating allegations of an assault involving Greg Gianforte, a wealthy Bozeman businessman.

Gianforte campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said the candidate was in a private office giving an interview when reporter Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission.

He says in a statement that Jacobs was asked to leave after trying to ask questions.

The newspaper posted an audio recording that captured the tension. In the recording, Gianforte can be heard saying that he was “sick and tired of you guys.”

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2:10 p.m.

Montana voters are heading to the polls Thursday to decide a nationally watched congressional election amid uncertainty in Washington over President Donald Trump’s agenda and his handling of the country’s affairs.

The flow of big money in the race portended an epic battle at the ballot box – as Republican groups poured cash into the state to help Greg Gianforte retain the state’s only U.S House seat for his party and as Democrat Rob Quist rallied progressives attempting to push back against last fall’s GOP tide.

The wild card is Libertarian Mark Wicks who could upend the political ambitions of his competitors.

In a last-minute turn, local authorities were investigating robocalls reportedly made by Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on behalf of Gianforte. The pre-recorded calls are illegal in Montana.

FILE – In this April 29, 2017, file photo, three candidates, from left, Republican Greg Gianforte, Democrat Rob Quist and Libertarian Mark Wicks vying to fill Montana’s only congressional seat await the start of their only televised debate in Great Falls, Mont. Montana voters are heading to the polls Thursday, May 25, 2017, to decide a nationally watched congressional election amid uncertainty in Washington over President Donald Trump’s agenda and his handling of the country’s affairs. (AP Photo/Bobby Caina Calvan, file)
FILE – In this March 6, 2017, file photo, Greg Gianforte, right, receives congratulations from a supporter in Helena, Mont. Montana voters are heading to the polls Thursday, May 25, 2017, to decide a nationally watched congressional election amid uncertainty in Washington over President Donald Trump’s agenda and his handling of the country’s affairs. (AP Photo/Matt Volz, File)
FILE – In this March 18, 2017 file photo, Congressional candidate Rob Quist meets with supporters during the annual Mansfield Metcalf Celebration dinner hosted by the state’s Democratic Party in Helena, Mont. Montana voters are heading to the polls Thursday, May 25, 2017, to decide a nationally watched congressional election amid uncertainty in Washington over President Donald Trump’s agenda and his handling of the country’s affairs. (AP Photo/Bobby Caina Calvan, File)
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