A Republican state legislator in Minnesota snatched the microphone out of his female Democratic opponent’s hands during a debate to make a point — and drew gasps from the crowd watching them.
Rochester, Minnesota’s Post-Bulletin newspaper reported that the state Rep. Duane Quam (R) made the aggressive gesture towards challenger Jamie Mahlberg during a debate hosted by the city’s League of Women Voters in a public library.
The moment was captured by a livestream hosted by the city of Rochester and subsequently went viral when a short clip captured both Quam snatching the mic from Mahlberg’s hands and then throwing it back at her when he’d made his point.
The Democratic candidate was answering a question about education funding and taxes that Quam had already answered when the incumbent grabbed the microphone from her while she was looking away.
“I see a rebuttal is required,” the moderator said as the audience chattered and the camera panned out. Stills from the moment show Mahlberg appearing to say “oh!” as Quam grabbed the mic from her hand.
He hands her the microphone back after complaining about taxes “funding failure” for students but she declined — at which point Quam threw it in front of her, causing a loud thump because the mic was still turned on.
In a statement to Splinter News, the Democratic candidate acknowledged the tense moment but said she was more focused on her campaign.
“It was disappointing to be on the receiving end of such disrespectful behavior from my current representative,” Mahlberg wrote, “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.