BOZEMAN, Mont. -- NBC News projects Rep. Greg Gianforte will keep his U.S. House seat.
Republican Greg Gianforte surged ahead of Democratic challenger Kathleen Williams a few hours after the polls closed, after Williams took the lead initially. By 11:15 p.m., Gianforte had an 18,000 vote lead with 53 percent of the vote. At one point in the night, 63 votes separated them.
Williams, a former state legislator and natural resource expert, has touted health care as one of her main priorities. Her mother died of Alzheimer’s disease when Williams was in her teens, and she quickly had to become her main caretaker.
Williams also hunts, fishes and canoes. Williams has put the environment as one of her top priorities, saying she wants to protect Montana agriculture.
Williams is a gun owner and has said she will defend Second Amendment rights but is also for gun safety reforms and keeping schools safe.
Williams was first elected to the Montana Legislature in 2010, where she ran in House District 65.
Rep. Greg Gianforte is looking to retain his seat after defeating Rob Quist in a special election in May of 2017.
After losing a bid for governor in 2016 against incumbent Gov. Steve Bullock, Gianforte became the Republican nominee for the House of Representatives shortly after Ryan Zinke joined the Trump Administration as Secretary of Interior.
The night before the special election, Gianforte made national headlines for assaulting a reporter. He pleaded guilty to the offense and was sentenced to community service.
In a recent rally in Missoula, President Donald Trump supported Gianforte's actions against the reporter.
Elinor Swanson is the Libertarian candidate in this race.