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FILE - In this March 11, 2017, file photo, Mark Wicks, standing, addresses Montana Libertarians gathering for their party's nominating convention in Helena, Mont. "Our judges are seeing more voters at the polls than they expected".

Republican Greg Gianforte has won the special election for Montana's open US House seat, CNN projects, defeating Democrat Rob Quist and capping off a whirlwind final 36 hours of the campaign that saw Gianforte being charged for allegedly assaulting a reporter. In November, Trump won the state by 20 points and a Republican hasn't won the congressional seat for two decades.

Some House Republicans were not eager to comment Thursday morning but Pelosi said: "We've really got say enough". Robocalls are illegal in Montana, according to state law. Greg Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault Wednesday after Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs said the GOP candidate body slammed him to the ground.

In his victory speech, Gianforte appeared humbled by the recent controversy, and apologized to Jacobs for the incident that had at one point appeared to doom his campaign.

"If he wins, he has been chosen by the Montana, the people of Montana", said Ryan, R-Wis.

In a statement, the National Republican Campaign Committee said "we all make mistakes". "I'm not proud of how I acted".

Another special election will be held next month in Georgia, another traditional Republican stronghold, where a Democrat holds a slim lead in polls.

Quist told supporters that he called Gianforte to congratulate him on his win and to urge him to represent all Montanans.

At the scene, Gootkin said Gianforte was cooperative after the alleged assault.

Gianforte, who canceled interviews scheduled for Thursday on NBC's "Meet the Press" and Fox News, faces Democrat Rob Quist, a banjo-playing folk singer and first-time candidate, to fill the seat vacated when Trump named Ryan Zinke as secretary of the interior.

Awkward entrance: President Trump and Vice President Pence made robocalls for Gianforte, and Donald Trump Jr. was the tech entrepreneur's most high-profile surrogate.

Gianforte's campaign pushed back against Jacobs's claims, saying that the reporter entered the office without permission and "aggressively shoved" a recorder in the candidate's face.

The altercation took place after Jacobs asked Gianforte about the Republican health care bill meant to replace Barack Obama's signature health reforms.

A Denver-based Fox News reporter who witnessed the attack later confirmed what happened.

The Guardian's U.S. editor Lee Glendinning said the newspaper was "deeply appalled by how our reporter, Ben Jacobs, was treated in the course of doing his job as a journalist while reporting on the Montana special election".

Repeated phone calls to Greg Gianforte's cellphone went unreturned Thursday. Going into Thursday's election, 37 percent of Montana's registered voters had already voted absentee. Steve Daines, also criticized Gianforte, but didn't agree that his actions should be disqualifying.

Three local newspapers have since withdrawn their endorsements for Gianforte.


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