The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee said Thursday, Montana GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte's alleged body slam of a reporter was "totally out of character," but said everyone makes mistakes.
"From what I know of Greg Gianforte, this was totally out of character, but we all make mistakes," Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "We need to let the facts surrounding this incident unfold."
However, the Ohio congressman intimated the group continues to back Gianforte ahead of Thursday night's election against Democrat Rob Quist in a race to replace Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke.
"Today's special election is bigger than any one person; it's about the views of all Montanans. They deserve to have their voices heard in Washington," Stivers added.
The announcement came moments after House Speaker Paul Ryan called on Gianforte to apologize for his actions, but believes the decision on whether to send him to Congress is up to the voters of Montana.
"I do not think this is acceptable behavior," Ryan said. "But, the choice will be made by the people of Montana."