What struck me was that folk singer Quist was making a race of a contest that millionaire businessman Gianforte should have won easily, given his greater campaign resources, Donald Trump's 20-point margin in Montana and national Democrats' tepid support through most of the contest.
Gianforte showed lukewarm support for Mr Trump during his unsuccessful run for governor in Montana last autumn but did an about-face and turned into an ebullient Trump supporter after he started campaigning for the congressional seat vacated by Republican Ryan Zinke, when he was tapped by Mr Trump to serve as Interior Department secretary.
If convicted, Gianforte faces a $500 fine or six months in jail, or both. It's shocking that a grown man who wants to represent the voters of Montana in the halls and chambers of Congress made a decision to physically assault a reporter who was pressing the candidate with wonky questions about the Congressional Budget Office's projections for the proposed GOP health care plan. She added that Gianforte then began to punch Jacobs.
The Fox News crew watched in astonishment as, after Jacobs pressed him on the GOP health care bill, "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.
A steady stream of people flowed into Lewis and Clark Library polling place in Helena, Montana, to vote on Thursday afternoon. Due to Fox's perceived role as a conservative news outlet, we should expect that viewers across the political spectrum should be more likely to accept Jacobs's account, especially given Gianforte's attempt to brand Jacobs as an aggressive "liberal journalist".
JILLIAN MELE: Hours before the polls open in the Montana special election, a GOP congressional candidate is charged with assault. Jacobs last month wrote about Gianforte's investments in funds linked to Russian companies under U.S. sanctions. "So that is wrong and it just should not have happened", Ryan said.
The incident garnered national news on Wednesday night, though Gianforte initially said that Jacobs had forced his way into a private room and began aggressively questioning the Republican candidate. The Committee called for Gianforte to quit the race and for the Republican Party to denounce him publicly. He attacked Gianforte as a transplant from New Jersey - Gianforte moved to the state in the 1990s - which was a potent issue during the gubernatorial race but not enough to get Quist across the finish line.
The incident on Wednesday threatened to roil a tightening race in the Republican-leaning state, where a Democratic political novice aimed to pull off a victory in a contest seen as a bellwether for next year's US congressional elections.
Quist had focused his campaign on criticism of the Republican effort to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's healthcare law. Gianforte has been ordered to appear in court by June 7. The president's son Donald Trump Jr. has hit the trail twice for Gianforte, and Vice President Pence also made a recent campaign stop on his behalf.
Ben Jacobs told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he was doing his job and asking a question of candidate Greg Gianforte as part of covering Thursday's special election.
Kasper did not answer questions about under what circumstances a reporter would deserve to be assaulted.
Three newspapers in the state rescinded their endorsements of the GOP candidate. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said, laughing at reporters. Yeah, I think he should apologise.
Gianforte's whereabouts weren't immediately known Thursday.