A Republican Minnesota lawmaker is facing major backlash after he snatched the microphone out of his Democratic opponent’s hand during a recent debate according to the Huffington Post.
That Republican, four-term state representative Duane Quam, was debating with political newcomer Jamie Mahlberg, a Minnesota Democrat.
The two had been taking turns answering questions about a wide range of topics throughout the debate. Things got out of hand, however, when the two were asked about their thoughts on linking education funding to the Consumer Price Index.
Quam raised a card while Mahlberg was answering a question indicating that he would like to offer a rebuttal. Instead of waiting for her to pass the microphone as the pair had done for every question prior, Quam reached over and snatched the microphone out of her hand, to her obvious shock.
Quam offered his rebuttal, then attempted to hand the microphone back to Mahlberg. Obviously offended, she looked away and refused to take the microphone back. When she didn’t acknowledge him, he tossed the microphone onto the table in front of her.
In an email to Splinter, Mahlberg wrote:
“It was disappointing to be on the receiving end of such disrespectful behavior from my current representative, but ultimately I’m focused on my campaign and the hard work I will continue to do to earn the support of the voters of the district.”
“How would anybody feel being on the receiving end of that kind of disrespect?” Mahlberg told the Post Bulletin. “I was very startled and taken aback and ultimately disappointed in it.”
Mahlberg told reporters that her phone has been “pretty active” since the incident had started spreading all over social media and her campaign had even received donations as a result.
Rep. Quam later apologized and blamed “nerves” for his actions during the debate in a Facebook post.
“I respect Jamie and my actions at last night’s forum did not reflect that,” he told the Post-Bulletin. “Unfortunately, my nerves got the best of me with our timed responses and I was not as graceful as I should have been while we shared the microphone. My sincere apologies to Jamie and I look forward to continuing a positive campaign.”
Despite the fairly shocking nature of the video, Mahlberg said she has no plans to use the controversy during her campaign.
“I can’t control how other people feel, and given the climate right now, people, especially women, are very much not accepting of this kind of behavior,” Mahlberg said. “If other people are sharing it, that’s their prerogative.”