Republican Gianforte Wins Montana House Race Despite Assault Charge; Libertarian Mark Wicks Pulls 6 Percent


Despite being cited for misdemeanor assault on a reporter yesterday (which leaves him open to a possible six months in jail), Republican Greg Gianforte won handily in Montana's special House election today over Democrat Rob Quist.

As of posting time, Gianforte has a 50-44 lead.

Mark Wicks Facebook

As FiveThirtyEight pointed out, despite this apparent huge win for the Republicans, in comparison with the weighted average win for the GOP in the last two presidential elections which would lead one to predict a 21 percent win, and with former Rep. Ryan Zinke's last victory of 16 percent, this 6 percent win isn't the best news Republicans could hope for looking forward to 2018 and first national election in the age of Trump.

Gianforte also has a $5 million lead in outside spending against Quist. The 53 percent turnout today was very close to this decade's general pattern for non-presidential elections for Montana.

Libertarian Mark Wicks, a rancher, came in with 6 percent, his raw vote total (21,332 as of time of posting) nearly beating the spread between them.

Since the Republican won, Wicks will likely not be accused of "spoiling" the race for the loser. Wicks' total, says Libertarian National Committee chair Nicholas Sarwark via email tonight, means "that there's a solid block of Libertarian voters who control the balance of power in elections."

Wicks beat the result for the L.P.'s 2016 presidential candidate Gary Johnson in the state in percentage terms (though not in raw votes, given smaller turnout). Wicks spent less than a dollar per vote, Sarwark says. (Wicks' campaign got a rare $5,000 donation from the LNC.)

In the last three Montana House elections, no Libertarian got more than 4.2 percent. In 2012, Libertarian Dan Cox in Montana's federal Senate race got over 6 percent, far wider than the spread between winning Democrat Jon Tester and losing Republican Danny Rehberg.

Wicks had the rare distinction for an L.P. candidate of appearing in a televised debate with his major party opponents.

In it, he seemed to be trying to appeal more as a change agent for those dissatisfied with major party sclerosis in general rather than a hardcore freedom guy, though he tipped his hat to the Constitution. He was solid on gun rights, but made sure the viewer knew that though he supported marijuana legalization he did not feel the same about harder drugs.

He said he believed in a border wall in certain places, and spoke out twice against sanctuary cities and expressed a fear that unmanaged immigration could lead to another 9/11. His solution for medical drug price inflation was suggesting a law forbidding American drug makers from selling their drugs overseas for any less than they sold them here (rather than, say, allowing Americans to buy them at cheaper overseas prices and import them).

As the Libertarian he was of course asked if a vote for him was "wasted." Wicks replied that "we've been doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results," that "the people in Washington are not doing what they are supposed to" and are "beholden to special interests and taking lobbyist money and not doing what's best for Montana" while criticizing the media for ignoring him.

He called on Montana's historical distinction as the first state to send a woman, Jeanette Rankin, as a representative to Washington in 1916 and asked them to do the same for the first Libertarian.

That didn't happen. But Wicks said on his Facebook page this evening, "Next go around we'll be ready to go further."

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  1. With luck, maybe this will start a trend of politicians popping journalists in the face.

    1. Hopefully thay jackass doubles down on his lying during the trial so they can nail his ass for perjury too.

    2. If he doesn’t walk into congress on Day 1 wearing neon spandex totin a wrasslin championship belt I’m gonna be disappointed….

      1. No reporter is ever going to jam/put/hold/reach/wave/push anything in Gianforte’s face again.

  2. “Libertarian National Committee chair Nicholas Sarwark via email tonight, means “that there’s a solid block of Libertarian voters who control the balance of power in elections.”

    As long as they do not vote for the Libertarian. Mr. Sawark does understand how elections work, right?

    1. The recent Montana and Georgia special election seem to indicate that the Democratic Party cannot win in areas outside solid blue. No matter how much the media hyped that the Republicans were scared of the close contest blah blah blah, team left lost…again.

      Hopefully after team Democrat finally is a party of no consequence, elections between Republicans and Libertarian Party will heat up.

      1. The Republicans got 1.5 million more votes in the 2016 national House vote than the Democrats, winning with 49.1% of the vote. Hillary won the popular vote by a wider margin, but even that was still only 48.2%.

        I have yet to anybody really address this or try to explain it. It was an astonishing result. I think people still don’t really see Trump as part of the mainstream Republican party. He is an outsider. It is why nearly every winning Republican candidate got a higher percentage of the vote than Trump did. Being anti-Trump is clearly not enough for Dems to win. Also, few people outside deep blue areas really care too much about the Russia investigation.

        I could see the Dems winning the House by ten or so seats, but I think they are going to lose 3 or 4 seats in the Senate.

        1. I could see the Dems winning the House by ten or so seats, but I think they are going to lose 3 or 4 seats in the Senate.

          Eh, I think it’s a lot more likely that the Dems pick up Senate seats, even with the all the anger that Dems have about Old Tracey Flick losing the election. The Rs in the mixed-party districts are being more critical of Trump than the ones in the solidly red districts, and the Ds in the special elections aren’t even bringing up Trump except in oblique ways.

          We’ll see how things are in two years, but I suspect the Rs are going to retain a decent chunk of their majority, even given the traditional mid-term seat loss.

          1. Have you seen the Senate map? They need to defend seats in ten states Trump won, 4 of which we won by 10+ points. The Dems’ only real chance for pick ups are in Nevada, Arizona, and frickin Texas.

          2. The DemoRats cannot win against a Congressman charged with assault the night before the election.

            The Democrats do not speak for most Americans and they will loose House and Senate seats accordingly.

      2. Cluestick: Montana and Georgia are deeply red states. A Republican candidate would have be caught sleeping with Hillary Clinton to lose.

        1. Except not one person in the JournoList was going around saying “Yes, of course our guy is going to lose, just by less than usual.” Everyone in the JournoList seriously thought that Kinky Friedman look-alike was going to win, especially after the assault story.

        2. Western states have been known to not tow the party line. They are more libertarian-types of Republicans than deep South Republicans.

        3. Not according to the media. Montana and Georgia are ripe for turning blue/purple says dipshits in the media.

    2. Sure, but you can’t get that influence by never voting libertarian either, otherwise no one knows there’s a significant liberty bloc to gun for.

      The cycle goes something like this: n% vote Libertarian — losing party becomes more Libertarian to woo them — when they become libertarian enough Libertarians reward them with a win — when they go back to being statist libertarians vote Libertarian again.

      Of course we have the organizational prowess of a plate of spaghetti so that’s all hypothetical.

  3. So so sorry Weigel, Crusty Juggler/Citizen X, Paranoid Android, Sparky, MJ Green, and all the rest of you Obama dick-suckin’ progtards!

    You lose yet again. Because you’re a bunch of total losers.

    1. That settles it you’re coming back as Rosie O’Donnell.

  4. As I said, Gianforte will win and the left will cry.

    We have now seen the story of the Gianforte assault charge move from #1 and TDS has started again.

    Luckily, the police can now investigate the matter and the parties reach a resolution without all the hyperbole about who did what when they were not even there.

    The left lost to a guy to is accused of assaulting a reporter. The Democratic Party is done!

    1. I’ve got to say it comforts me a little bit when inadvertently reveal just how fucking stupid you are. It explains so much else about you.

      1. Yes, in your World pointing out how wrong lefties are is stupid.

        Stupid stupid stupid. Like a little baby, whose favorite lady lost the Presidential election and whose favorite country singer lost the Montana special election and whose favorite liberal Ossoff did not win the Georgia primary special election.

        But you are so smart. s…m…r…t. I mean s…m…a…r…t.

        Yes, I was mocking you.

  5. HAHAHAHahahahah! I can’t stop laughing… I guess Boinie Sandiss wasn’t able to get out the commu-vote to help the dem.

  6. Some people think the phrase “I will fight for you” is just a political slogan – – – – – –

  7. which leaves him open to a possible six months in jail
    How lenient is Montana’s work release?

    1. link is to Al Franken assaulting a citizen. narrative crumbling.

      1. Holy crap! That is hilarious!

        I guess Franken will resign because that’s what Democrats are asking Gianforte to do.

  8. You may wonder why I let the bad guys win so often.

    1. ‘bad’ ‘guys’ ha!

      and you tell people you’re omniscient.

      Does your mom know you’re out here making people blown themselves up again?

    2. Actual quote of God:

      Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

      Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone….

      Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!…

      Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and bring them low, look at all who are proud and humble them, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you….

      Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.

      Yeah, I’d be careful about talking for God…

  9. Even with the reporter smack-around, this is a great example of how thin the Democrat bench is–“Hey guys, let’s nominate a guitar-strumming hippie who may have grown up in Montana but whose politics resemble all the Californians who migrated here to settle in the college towns!” Is it really that hard for the Dems to find a Blue Dog-type of nominee in a socially conservative state that would still be receptive to economic populism?

  10. Libertarian Mark Wicks, a rancher, came in with 6 percent, his raw vote total (21,332 as of time of posting) nearly beating the spread between them.

    If you have three candidates in a race, and each voter selects only one, then of course any given candidate will have a vote total that matches the difference between the other two.

    Do the math.

    1. Yes, by all means, do the math… And show your work.

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