Those who want to find live results of the 2017 Montana special election will be able to follow all the vote totals and see if Republican Greg Gianforte’s last-minute arrest for allegedly assaulting a reporter will throw a wrench in what should have been an easy win for the GOP.
Gianforte will be facing Democrat Rob Quist in the race. Polls in Montana close at 8 p.m. MT (10 p.m. ET).
The race for the state’s unoccupied House seat had garnered only little national attention before late on Wednesday when Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs accused Gianforte of body-slamming him for asking a question about the GOP health care plan. Gianforte’s camp seemed to issue a press release that twisted the incident as later shown on an audio tape.
The incident garnered national news on Wednesday night, though Gianforte initially said that Jacobs had forced his way into a private room and began aggressively questioning the Republican candidate.
An audio tape released by Jacobs seemed to show a different story, with Gianforte snapping when Jacobs asked for his stance on the recently passed health care bill.
A short scuffle could be heard immediately afterward, the Washington Post noted.
“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte could be heard saying. “The last guy that came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”
“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” Jacobs answered.
Gianforte’s assertion that Jacobs had been aggressive was also contradicted by a reporter from Fox News Channel who said the attack on the Guardian reporter appeared to be unprovoked.
Many are seeing the Montana special congressional election as an early test of the Donald Trump presidency. In the handful of other special elections since Trump’s inauguration, Democratic candidates have used Trump as an attack point. In Montana, Trump won by 21 points in November, so a win for Quist could be seen as a major political shift.
But as Politico pointed out, Trump hasn’t been much of a factor in the Montana special election for Democrats, and Gianforte had no problem showing off his ties to the president.
“Quist rarely mentions the president on the stump, while Gianforte hugs him close, adorning his events with Trump stickers and peppering his standard speech with mentions of the president. He’s also received in-person visits from Donald Trump Jr. and Vice President Mike Pence. In the past three days, the White House has even chipped in with separate robocalls from the president and vice president, urging voters to support Gianforte.”
Despite the last-minute arrest, there is still a good chance that those watching the live results of the 2017 Montana special election could still see Greg Gianforte pull off a victory. The state allows early voting by mail, and there were reportedly more than 200,000 ballots already received.
The Washington Post reported that state and county election officials have been fielding phone calls from voters hoping to switch their vote, but that is not allowed.
“In Montana, we vote only once,” Christi Jacobsen, chief of staff to Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, told the Washington Post. “Once you voted you can’t change your vote.”
The race will mostly likely come down to turnout on Thursday. Because Republicans hold such a heavy advantage in Montana, Quist will likely need a low turnout with angry Republican voters simply staying home.
Those who want to follow live results from the 2017 Montana special congressional election can click here for up-to-date voting totals.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]