Gianforte, meanwhile, has been silent about the incident.
Gianforte made his first bid for public office in 2016, when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. "Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him", Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna wrote in an article on Wednesday. Democrat Rob Quist, who has said he'd leave the matter up to law enforcement, was slated to rally in Missoula but was doing little media interaction of his own.
In her remarks on the incident, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) drew comparisons to President Trump.
A reporter is accusing U.S. House hopeful Greg Gianforte of slamming him to the ground during an attempted interview in Montana.
Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Congress who allegedly assaulted a reporter, should not "have the privilege of serving" in the Capitol building, according to one representative.
But the theme of the election shifted Wednesday night when Jacobs walked into Gianforte's office as he was preparing for an interview with Fox News. I mean a person gets pushed down, they think they're being "body-slammed.' There's really not any certain thing, that came from more fake wrestling - you know, 'the body slam, ' being picked up in the air and thrown to the ground".
House Speaker Paul Ryan is calling for Gianforte to apologize, saying "that's wrong and should not happen".
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said Thursday that his office is a "bodyslam free zone" for the media following an alleged physical confrontation between GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte and a reporter in Montana. "This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics", said Jacobs.
Asked if he will seat Gianforte if he wins the special election, Ryan said, "If he wins he's been chosen by the people of Montana".
Rep. Steve Stivers of OH, who chairs the House GOP campaign committee, said: "From what I know of Greg Gianforte, this was totally out of character, but we all make mistakes".
More than 270,000 Montanans already have cast absentee votes in the election, and can not change those votes.
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Montanans can register to vote and vote on the same day so the 700,000 overall registered voters could rise.
But even before the incident Republicans were conceding the race was close, The Hill said.
Conservative editor of the Weekly Standard Bill Kristol called on other Republicans to denounce Gianforte.
The altercation took place after Jacobs asked a question about the Republican health care bill meant to replace Barack Obama's signature health reforms.
Rep. Duncan Hunter speaks to the media before a painting he found offensive and removed is rehung on the U.S. Capitol walls on January 10, 2017.
Jacobs told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday that he never touched Gianforte. And while coverage of Gianforte's run-in with Jacobs may be overwhelmingly negative, a lot of people think the reporter deserved the violence, so it shouldn't be assumed people are going to drop their support for Gianforte because of what allegedly occurred.
Jacobs works for the Guardian, a British newspaper, and has been covering the Montana special election.
The polls are open in a race for Montana's only congressional seat just hours after the front-running candidate was charged with beating up a reporter.
Shaun Scott, a computer science professor at Carroll College in Helena, voted for Gianforte despite the assault charge, saying it was barely a factor in his decision. Asked if the reporter was injured, Wells said the reporter's glasses broke.
A Fox News reporter provided a vivid eyewitness account of an attack on the reporter by Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte that led to him being cited for assault by the county sheriff.
Three Montana newspapers rescinded their endorsements of Gianforte after the altercation. Along the way, he was trailed by a few reporters asking him questions, including Ben Jacobs of the Guardian.