Gianforte has, shall we say, his own history of violent incidents during elections. This time, it was an aide involved and an automobile on the receiving end.
Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) made headlines in 2017 when he attacked a reporter on the campaign trail during a special election for the seat he now holds.
Now one of Gianforte’s top campaign staffers in Gianforte’s bid for Montana’s governorship has allegedly committed a violent incident of his own, attacking a parked car, according to a police report.
An incident report filed by the Montana police says that Daniel Duffey, Gianforte’s political director and spokesman, bashed a parked car next to his pickup truck on Oct. 26, repeatedly slamming his truck’s door into the other vehicle. Duffey “opened his car door and struck the side of Vehicle 2 several times, causing visible damage to Vehicle 2,” the report from the Bozeman Police Department reads.
Duffey and the Gianforte campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment. But chatter about the incident circulated in political circles on Monday. And Duffey appears to have deleted both his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Andre Zollars, a Montana resident whose daughter owns the damaged car, told The Daily Beast that the incident occurred outside a sushi restaurant in Bozeman on Oct. 26. Zollars said Duffey’s truck was parked over the line separating parking spaces, but that her daughter was able to fit into the parking space anyway.
When her daughter returned to the car later, however, she discovered that her vehicle had been damaged. Zollars claims Duffey also keyed her daughter’s car, although that isn’t mentioned in the police report. The car received more than $1,600 worth of damage during the incident, according to a mechanic’s estimate Zollars provided to The Daily Beast.
Police were able to trace the damage to Duffey through surveillance video of the incident, according to Zollars. Duffey hasn’t been criminally charged in the case.
Zollars said she’s disappointed that Gianforte hasn’t contacted her or her daughter over the incident.
“Gianforte is our congressman, you would think we would get a phone call or something,” Zollars said.
Duffey previously worked as a state data director for the Arizona Republican Party, according to his since-deleted Twitter bio.
Gianforte is running for governor against Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney (D-MT), in what’s considered to be one of the most competitive gubernatorial races in the country. Election handicappers have described the race as a toss-up, according to FiveThirtyEight. Gianforte also ran for governor in 2016 but lost to Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT), who’s now running for the Senate.