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Republican candidate Greg Gianforte is Montana's new congressman despite being charged with assault after an altercation with a reporter the day before the state's special election.

Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist for a House seat vacated by former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who was appointed President Donald Trump's Secretary of the Interior.

Gianforte, a technology entrepreneur, jumped into headlines across the U.S. Wednesday night after political reporter Ben Jacobs accused him of "body slamming" him during an attempted interview.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Gianforte was issued a citation Wednesday night.

"Tonight we won a victory for all Montanans", Gianforte said. "That's the Montana way".

"Last night I made a mistake, I took an action that I can't take back". "I shouldn't have treated that reporter that way, and for that, I'm sorry, Mr".

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Saying he was "not proud" of his behavior, he added, "I should not have responded the way I did". After Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault, Screnar said she was only "more ready to support Greg".

A few conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, jokingly said about the incident that maybe an attack on a reporter would help any candidate win in Montana. Jacobs posted audio of the encounter, and Fox News Channel journalists who were present verified the account. "That's not the person I am, and that's not the way I will lead in this state".

But during his congressional campaign, Gianforte was a passionate Trump supporter who urged Montana voters to help "drain the swamp". Steve Daines, R-Mont., both have said that Gianforte should apologize for his actions.

Gianforte broke his silence at his victory celebration Thursday night, where he apologized to Jacobs.

"There is no time where a physical altercation should occur with the press or just between human beings", he told reporters. The office of Montana's secretary of state released a statement saying almost 70 percent of ballots had been cast prior to Election Day, anyway: even if persuadable constituents had a change of heart after Wednesday night, for many of them it was too late. For better or for worse, Montana's U.S. House seat will now be filled by Greg Gianforte - businessman, Republican, and choke-slam champion. It also suggests that, despite reports of Trump's lack of popularity, Republicans are still capable of winning statewide office - something that could worry Democrats looking to retake the House and Senate in 2018.