Can Greg Gianforte Adequately Represent Montana in Congress?
Helena – After four months of no representative in the U.S. House, Montanans deserve representation. But Greg Gianforte’s assault charge will have lasting repercussions, including the likely fact that he is shunned in Washington and not given any position of significance or influence on the Hill, hurting the people who matter most – his constituents in Montana.
But don’t take it from us, take it from political analysts and observers who believe that while he will face increased scrutiny, Gianforte’s role will be next to nothing on the Hill as his colleagues try to avoid being tied to his own controversy:
Darrell Ehrlick, Editor of the Billings Gazette: There are so many questions and speculation. Will he have any substantive penalties imposed? Will the House seat him? What will his committee assignments be? Will he be snubbed in Washington, D.C.?
Flathead Memo: His takedown of Jacobs will hurt his political career. How much it will hurt it remains to be seen.
Michele Swers, congressional expert at American University: “If [Gianforte] is elected, they’re going to want to hide him. So [the assault] probably harms the chances of him getting a really good committee assignment. He almost certainly won’t get as prominent a committee assignment as he would have otherwise.”
James A. Thurber, a distinguished professor of government at American University and the founder of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies: “People that have been around a long time, when they’re judging who should get certain committee assignments, this doesn’t help (Gianforte). There are things that are unsaid that happen. There will be opportunities that don’t come about (for Gianforte) because of things like this, but he’ll never know it.”
Billings Gazette Editorial Board: We need our elected officials to become more talkative, more communicative, more thoughtful when it counts the most. In this case, Gianforte said nothing when everything — his very election — was on the line. What can we expect when our health care, our immigration, our guns, our taxes or our children's education is on the line? Silence?
Fox News: How will lawmakers interact with Gianforte? Will Republicans shun him? How jocular will House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., be with Gianforte compared to other special election winners? What will Gianforte say to the House? …Montana sends but a three-person delegation to Washington, and Gianforte will be the only House member. How does Gianforte comport himself after he’s here? Does he deliberately fade from the public view? It’s hard to become a member of the “Invisible Caucus” on Capitol Hill when you’ve done something as visible as Gianforte.
Washington Post: If Mr. Gianforte is convicted of his pending assault charge, he should resign. If he declines to step away, the House of Representatives should expel him. Otherwise, a man convicted of assaulting a reporter and who subsequently lied about the incident, will serve in a body whose very existence proclaims that even the most contentious disputes can be managed through debate and peaceful disagreement. At the least, Mr. Gianforte should be persona non grata on Capitol Hill, frozen out of committee assignments, treated with disdain.
Former Rep. Pat Williams: Good luck and best wishes, Greg Gianforte. You will need it and so will we.