Republican lawmaker snatches mic from Democratic candidate during debate, tosses it towards her later
A clip of the incident has gone viral, and shows Democratic candidate Jamie Mahlberg looking startled when 58-year-old Duane Quam snatches the mic from her
A Republican lawmaker from Minnesota received heavy criticism from social media users after he snatched a microphone from his female opponent's hands during a debate at a public forum. After finishing his statement, representative Duane Quam, then casually lobbed it in front of her, according to reports.
A clip of the bizarre incident has gone viral, which shows Democratic candidate Jamie Mahlberg looking startled when 58-year-old Quam snatched the mic from her during the debate on Monday night.
The four-time Republican representative and Mahlberg were reportedly debating the issue of education funding in from a public audience when the incident occurred.
Quam, at the end of the debate, wanted to rebut a point made by Mahlberg when he sneakily crept his hand towards the microphone which was in the Democratic candidate's hand, snatched it and resumed speaking.
Although Quam has issued an apology in a Facebook message to the Rochester Post-Bulletin saying that he respected Mahlberg, there were many people on social media who deemed the Republican's behavior as "boorish" and called it "bullying."
Reports state that during the exchange between the two politicians at the forum in Rochester, there was no noted insults or raised voices. However, right before the event came to an end a person from the audience raised a question about inflation, asking: "Would you support putting an automatic increase on the general education formula to match the consumer price index rate of increase the previous year?"
A Minnesota Republican member of the state house has expressed his apologies for grabbing a microphone from his female opponent's hands during a forum earlier this week https://t.co/28UiVos83D— CNN (@CNN) October 10, 2018
According to the rules set by the League of Women Voters, Quam was required to answer the question first. He delivered his argument against the general principle of education funding formulas, and handed the microphone to his opponent. While Mahlberg, a first-time opponent and a psychology professor, was giving her answer, he snatched the mic from her hand drawing a gasp from the audience and startling Mahlberg. After he was done with his rebuttal, Quam offered the mic back to Mahlberg who refused to take it, he then just tossed it in front of her.
She picked it up eventually, and answered the next question and the debate concluded without further incident.
Mahlberg, while talking to the Washington Post, later said: "I was really just kind of in a state of shock. I just wanted to make sure I kept my composure," recalling that she did not feel any anger or embarrassment.
"How would anyone feel being on the receiving end of that disrespectful behavior? Disappointment, for my current representative," she said, adding that she didn't speak to her opponent after the incident.
She was surprised to discover the next day that moment had gone viral and converted into GIFs and YouTube videos, symbols in a national debate over the behavior of men in power. "The physical embodiment of the cocky, white male legislator," one tweeter wrote.
Another user said: "How boorish of this guy, trying to overpower Mahlberg here."
Quam apologized in a statement to the Post-Bulletin and on Facebook.
He wrote: "I respect Jamie and my actions at last night’s forum did not reflect that."
"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."
Mahlberg said she had never noticed any aggression from Quam before the debate and declined to speculate on what provoked him in that moment.
"I’m ultimately focused on my campaign," she told The Post as she headed in to teach her first class of the morning. "We have 27 days until the election."