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A special election for Montana’s lone seat in the U. S. House of Representatives became a major flashpoint in the mood of American politics this week. When the votes were tallied Thursday night, Republican Greg Gianforte edged Democratic challenger Rob Quist by a seven point margin (189,473 Republican votes, 166,483 Democratic votes).
In an analysis of the election results, Daily Yonder compared the rural, urban and suburban voting patterns to the 2016 Presidential Election. The comparison revealed:
- An energized Democratic voter base. Democratic candidate Quist received 93.7% of Hillary Clinton’s November vote total. Republican Gianforte received only 67.9% of President Trump’s November vote total.
- Rural Voters Trended Slightly Toward the Democratic Candidate. Quist gained the most ground in non-urban precincts. In rural communities, Gianforte was the furthest from reaching the Trump election totals.
- The Rural Vote Matters in Montana. More than half of voters in the Montana Special Election were from rural precincts.
The vote occurred in the aftermath Gianforte’s physical assault of a reporter attempting to ask a question about the Republican health care bill.
The campaign was also a clash of national interest groups, with the National Rifle Association, Americans for Prosperity, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committees and many others supporting targeted advertisements and voter outreach.