Gianforte snags Montana's lone congressional seat, apologizes to - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Gianforte snags Montana's lone congressional seat, apologizes to Jacobs

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Republican candidate Greg Gianforte has won Montana's congressional seat.

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton called the election at 10:33 pm. 

At the beginning of the night, the numbers were close for Gianforte and Democrat challenger Rob Quist, until the Republican candidate started pulling forward around 9:15 pm. The percent margin jumped from two, to four and than a six-percent lead by 9:30 p.m.

For the full breakdown: Gianforte received 50-percent, Quist 44-percent and Libertarian Mark Wicks 6-percent. By 11:20 pm the percent margin between Gianforte and Quist was eight. 

Two of Montana's largest counties, Gallatin and Missoula went to Quist, but despite this Gianforte managed to pick up multiple smaller counties, pushing forward for the win. 

After his victory was announced, Gianforte addressed his attendees. 

"Together, tonight, we won a victory for our Treasure State," he said to cheers. 

This is a win, the new congressman, said for all Montanans. 

His speech then addressed his assault charges: 

"Last night I learned a lesson....I need to share something from my heart here," Gianforte said. "When you make a mistake you have to own up to it. That's the Montana way. Last night I made a mistake. I took an action that I can't take back and I'm not proud of what happened."

He continued to explain his mistake and then apologized to the reporter he allegedly assaulted. 

"I should not have treated that reporter that way and for that I'm sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs."

Gianforte went on to say that he will not conduct himself this way as congressman. His supporters accepted these apologies.

A few promises were made as well. 

He said he'd support journalist, hold government accountable for its spending and that he will not move to Washington D.C. and will instead commute from Montana. 

The millionaire is a known business man in Gallatin County and the founder of RightNow Technologies.

His venture into politics kicked off last year. In 2016 he ran for governor against Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock, who was re-elected. Shortly after the loss, Gianforte announced his bid for congress. The candidate has built his campaign around Second Amendment Rights and access to public lands.

Throughout 2017 Gianforte gained endorsements from prominent Montana Republican lawmakers and then President Donald Trump's son. Trump Jr. stumped for Gianforte in April with a return visit to the Big Sky state this May. 

While the polls closed at 8 pm, Gianforte didn't arrive while his victory was announced. He disappeared from the public eye for roughly 24-hours after an alleged assault against a Guardian reporter.

On Wednesday night, Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault. One attendee at his watch party said he wasn't concerned about the charges affecting Gianforte's chances since so many Montanans voted absentee. In fact, some people took to social media to applaud his alleged actions, while others sided with his account of events

At 11:29 pm Gianforte's camp sent the following email: 

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