Montana Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte’s chief of staff Charles Robison is moving on after just five months on the job.  The Billings Gazette reported late Friday that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was appointing Robison to be Rural Development director of Montana.  An attempt by the Gazette to contact Robison on Monday at Gianforte’s Helena office was redirected to Travis Hall, the congressman’s spokesman.

Hall said Gianforte supported Robison’s move, but the demonstrably combative freshman Republican legislator– who took office in a bizarre special election in May– plans to seek re-election in 2018.  On the eve of that election, Gianforte assaulted a reporter, and Democrats who have filed to run against him have cited that incident in their campaigning.  Robison’s exodus wasn’t lost on Democrats, lined up six deep for a chance to challenge Gianforte, question the timing of his departure.