Greg Gianforte Campaign Raised $100K After Candidate Assaulted Reporter

Republican businessman Greg Gianforte is favored to win the special election in Montana to replace Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, but he made headlines for all the wrong reasons after assaulting a reporter Wednesday night. He has been charged with misdemeanor assault, but that hasn't pushed away online donors. In fact, he has raised over $100,000 in the 24 hours after the assault.

"Source close to Gianforte campaign says have raised over $100k online in last 24hrs w/ very lg majority of $ coming post incident last night," Alex Moe, NBC News Capitol Hill producer, tweeted Thursday night.

How could people support Gianforte after he reportedly assaulted a journalist? Perhaps the more pertinent question is, how could Trump voters not pull the lever for him? The Montana Republican was constantly badgered by Guardian reporters like Ben Jacobs. After the swagger of Trump, who repeatedly attacks the misleading "fake news" media, carried Montana by huge margins, some are predicting that the assault actually favored Gianforte.

President Trump is a macho man, and many Trump supporters might see a Republican willing to strike back at an offensive liberal reporter as similarly manly. He can stand up for himself, and that's a reason to support him, in their eyes.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan chided Gianforte for his treatment of the reporter, saying, "I do not think this is acceptable behavior."

GOP strategist Rick Wilson lamented this "Trump effect."

"This Gianforte assault story is one of those moments where the cultural collapse of the GOP into the Trump Troll Party is captured," Wilson tweeted. He attacked those who might defend "someone assaulting a reporter because 'duh lubrul media lies.'"

Wilson asked, "Are you so past the rule of law, and lack so much confidence in your ideas that this is where you take political satisfaction? Because if this is where you are, you're not a party; you're a mob. If this is where you are, you're not a conservative; you're trash."

The GOP strategist concluded by saying, "If you're a Republican or conservative defending this, please stop identifying yourself as either."

The connection between Gianforte and Trump goes further than the willingness to engage in fisticuffs. Both Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump's son Donald Jr. have campaigned with the Montana Republican.