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Democrats launch ads highlighting GOP candidate's alleged body-slam of reporter

Montana GOP candidate charged

Following Wednesday's assault on a reporter covering the Montana special election, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched new ads highlighting the altercation.

A reporter for The Guardian claims Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Thursday's special congressional election in Montana, "body slammed" him so hard at a meet-and-greet in Bozeman Wednesday that the candidate's glasses were broken.

Audio of Wednesday's altercation reveals Jacobs asking a question about health care and the recently released Congressional Budget Office score, which Gianforte refuses to answer, saying, "Speak with Shane, please," likely a reference to his spokesperson, Shane Scanlon. Next, the sound is muffled by the ensuing altercation.

"I'm sick and tired of you guys!" a voice, apparently Gianforte's, yelled. "The last guy that came here, you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here!"

DCCC MT-AL AD: "Body Slam" by DcccClips on YouTube

In one ad, a video simply containing the audio of the alleged incident plays with a banner saying "Must listen: Greg Gianforte violently assaults reporter." 

The video was part of the DCCC's new ad for Facebook users specifically targeting Democrats in the state with a goal of what the organization said was "persuasion and mobilization."

The committee says the ads aim to reach those who might have been less likely to turn out and vote on Election Day and the DCCC says they will put "the maximum amount of money allowable behind the digital ads" according to a written statement sent out Wednesday evening.

"Greg Gianforte has no business being in Congress, and there's still time to stop him. Voters in Montana deserve to know that someone aiming to represent them in Congress is likely to have just committed a violent assault on an innocent person, and the DCCC will do everything possible to make that loud and clear in the next 24 hours," said Meredith Kelly of the DCCC.

In the fallout since the assault, Gianforte has now been issued a citation for misdemeanor assault for his role in the incident, and at least three local papers -- the Missoulian, Gazette Opinion and the Independent Record -- have since withdrawn their support from the candidate, all citing the violent assault of a journalist.

The Gianforte campaign issued their own statement after the altercation, saying "It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ."

Gianforte is scheduled to appear in Gallatin county Justice Court on June 7th.

Polls in Montana close 10 p.m. EST on Thursday with results expected to come in late after midnight. Over 250,000 voters have already cast their ballots in the election to fill Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's vacant seat. 

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