Voters in Montana are set to decide who they will send to the US House of Representatives. You can watch a live tally of the results below:
Four candidates are vying for Montana’s only House seat, but two candidates are seen as the main contenders — Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist. The candidates are running for the seat previously held by Ryan Zinke, who became President Donald Trump’s interior secretary in March.
Gianforte, a multimillionaire tech entrepreneur who was backed by some Republican Party heavyweights in the final weeks of the race, kept a low profile on Thursday, according to local news outlets. Fewer than 24 hours earlier, the Republican candidate was charged with misdemeanour assault on accusations he attacked a reporter Wednesday.
The fallout was significant in the hours that followed. Three of Montana’s biggest newspapers rescinded their endorsements of Gianforte and Democractic lawmakers publicly scolded the GOP’s candidate. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, called the candidate’s altercation with a reporter “unsettling on many levels.” Republicans mostly avoided any public criticism of their candidate.
Quist is a local bluegrass musician who has pitched himself as a party outsider. Neither Quist nor Gianforte have previous experience holding public office.
Observers consider the Montana special election and others around the country as a potential foreshadowing of the 2018 midterms.
It is not clear how Gianforte’s assault charge might affect the outcome of the Montana’s special election. The New York Times reported Thursday that some 250,000 of Montana’s roughly 700,000 registered voters mailed in their ballots. The final results may not be known for hours after polls close.
We will update this post throughout the night as results come in.
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