GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race

GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race
© Greg Nash

Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteStates push back against federal unemployment policies delaying economic recovery Governors can protect civil liberties, too No turning back on pandemic unemployment support MORE (R) has won Montana’s gubernatorial race, bringing an end to a 16-year Democratic streak in the governor’s mansion.

The 59-year-old entrepreneur, who is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, will succeed a term-limited Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBiden 'allies' painting him into a corner Democratic Kansas City, Mo., mayor eyes Senate run Overnight Energy: Climate Summit Day 2 — Biden says US will work with other countries on climate innovation MORE (D) after defeating Bullock’s lieutenant governor, Democrat Mike Cooney. Gianforte won 53 percent of the vote.

"I expect Mr. Gianforte to serve with the best interests of all Montanans in mind," Cooney wrote on Twitter. "Public service answers to public accountability, but accountability doesn’t end here. It begins here."


Bullock, who beat Gianforte by 4 points during the 2016 governor’s race, was defeated by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) in one of the most competitive 2020 Senate races in the country. 

Gianforte was elected to the state's at-large congressional seat during a special election to replace then-Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court sets in motion EPA ban on pesticide linked to developmental issues | Trump Interior Secretary Zinke files to run for Congress, again | Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill Trump Interior Secretary Zinke files to run for Congress, again MORE in May 2017. 


He made headlines during the race when he attacked Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, and slammed him to the ground the night before his victory.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault for the incident. He was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a $300 fine along with an $85 court fee. 

The Republican lawmaker won reelection during the 2018 midterms but opted to pursue higher office last year.