Voters here shrugged off the episode and handed Republicans a convincing victory. Mr. Gianforte’s success underscored the limitations of the Democrats’ strategy of highlighting the House’s health insurance overhaul and relying on liberal anger toward President Trump, at least in red-leaning states.
“Montana sent a strong message tonight that we want a congressman who will work with President Trump to make America and Montana great again,” Mr. Gianforte said in remarks shortly after he was declared the winner.
Mr. Gianforte’s capture of the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spares his party the short-term pain of losing a reliably Republican seat in Congress, but at the cost of having the newest member of the House majority arrive in Washington under a serious legal cloud.
Mr. Gianforte still faces a misdemeanor assault charge that will require him to appear in a Montana courtroom next month. Republicans in Washington indicated that they were unlikely to block him from taking office, despite the possibility of a criminal conviction in the coming weeks.
According to an audio recording and the account of a Fox News reporter, Mr. Gianforte flew into a rage and battered Mr. Jacobs after Mr. Jacobs asked him a straightforward question about the health care bill passed by House Republicans this month.
Mr. Gianforte faced mounting public demands on Thursday from Republican leaders, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senator Steve Daines of Montana, to apologize.
For Democrats, their failure to notch a win, or even come close, raises pressure on their nominee to score a victory in a…