AP-US--Montana Special Election/152
Eds: APNewsNow. New approach. With AP Photos. AP Video.
Was Montana's wild House race a Trump test? Not so much
BOBBY CAINA CALVAN, Associated Press

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Republican Greg Gianforte's win in Montana's special election hinged on flaws in both the two major party candidates.

Gianforte's weaknesses were most apparent Wednesday night when he was charged with misdemeanor assault for throwing a reporter to the ground. He apologized Thursday after polls closed. The majority of voters had already cast ballots by mail before the incident.

His opponent was folk singer and Democrat Rob Quist. Quist was a first-time candidate who struggled to rebut attacks over his beleaguered personal finances.

The two competed for Montana's sole congressional seat. Democrats had hoped to send a message to Republicans that they weren't safe even in highly conservative states.

Yet Gianforte's single-digit win paled in comparison to Trump's 20-point romp in Montana in November, a sign that Republicans will have to work to defend some of their most secure seats.