Greg Gianforte, a Montana congressman-elect, is trying to raise money for Georgia’s 6th District congressional candidate Karen Handel.
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Gianforte won Montana’s lone congressional seat last Thursday. Last Wednesday, police charged him with assault. The allegations are that he body-slammed Ben Jacobs, a politics reporter for The Guardian newspaper, threw him to the ground and broke his glasses.
This weekend, Gianforte emailed a fundraising plea for Karen Handel, which was distributed by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
But will the plea help Handel’s campaign or hurt it?
Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz says he doesn’t see how this endorsement could be a good thing to her campaign.
“I think she should just ignore it. I think it would provide an opening for Democrats to come after her saying, ‘Are you okay with what he did?'” Abramowitz says.
“My organization would call on Handel to repudiate any assistance Gianforte offers to Handel,” says David Snyder, executive director for the First Amendment Coalition, which works to protect the freedom of the press. “She should not be endorsing the actions that Gianforte took.”
Snyder says, because of what happened between Gianforte and Jacobs, Handel has to respond to the endorsement.
“It demands a strong negative response. So, I think no response at all would be akin to supporting what Gianforte did. And that’s unacceptable,” he says.
Handel’s campaign did not respond to comment before deadline.