The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ad Friday criticizing Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte for initially blaming a reporter he assaulted for their altercation and calling for him to resign.
The day before the special election in May to fill Montana’s open House seat, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted that the Republican candidate had “body-slammed” him.
initially, Gianforte’s campaign spokesman released a statement saying Jacobs refused to lower his recorder, which led to an altercation in which both ended up on the ground.
The ad, which will run through August on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, features clips of reporters asking Gianforte why he first blamed Jacobs for body-slamming him and why he decided to “reverse course and apologize.” The committee said the ad was worth four figures and is geotargeted for Montana.
The ad then shows him repeating several times that he took “full responsibility” for what happened, but not saying why he decided to change his story and apologize. It then ends by saying that taking for full responsibility equals “giving a straight answer why your campaign lied.”
“Montanans want leaders who don’t see themselves as above the law and who answer for their actions fully and honestly,” DCCC spokesman Drew Godinich said in a statement. “Greg Gianforte has shown that he has little interest in that kind of leadership, and that’s why he should resign his seat in Congress.”
The DCCC was criticized for not investing in Gianforte’s Democratic challenger Rob Quist, only spending about half a million dollars in the race compared to dumping large amounts of money into races like Georgia’s 6th District’s election.
The committee made a last-ditch effort after the assault and the DCCC later said it will be competing for the seat in 2018.
Roll Call reached out to a Gianforte campaign aide.