Minnesota state Rep. Duane Quam (R) is under fire after a video online showed him snatching the microphone away from his female opponent during a debate Monday night.

The four-term GOP incumbent was debating Democratic newcomer Jamie Mahlberg when the incident occurred.

Quam and Mahlberg passed a single microphone back and forth as they discussed a variety of issues. But when Mahlberg answered a question about how to address education funding, Quam raised a card to signal he wanted to offer a rebuttal.


Instead of waiting for Mahlberg to pass him the microphone, he snatched it from her, prompting a look of surprise by Mahlberg.

After Quam finished his rebuttal, he offered the microphone back to Mahlberg. When she didn’t take it, he he tossed it in front of her on the table they were sharing.

The two candidates are vying for a seat in Minnesota's House of Representatives.

“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,” Mahlberg said in an email statement to Splinter.

Quam also apologized for the incident in a statement to the Post-Bulletin.

“I respect Jamie and my actions at last night’s forum did not reflect that,” he said in the statement. “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.”