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Minnesota lawmaker causes stir as he yanks mic away from female opponent

It happened during a forum in Rochester.

A short video clip involving two Minnesota election candidates is spreading online, showing a state lawmaker yanking a microphone away from his female opponent.

The incident happened during at League of Women Voters'-sponsored legislative forum at Rochester Public Library on Monday, involving Rep. Duane Quam (R-25A) and his DFL opponent Jamie Mahlberg.

As Mahlberg finished up a question, Quam reached over and grabbed the mic from her grasp before answering the question himself.

When she looked away as he attempted to return the mic after he was done, he tossed it down in front of her to murmurs from the crowd.

It was posted on Twitter Tuesday morning, since when it has been viewed more than 28,000 times.

Speaking to Splinter following the debate, Mahlberg said in an email that 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," she added.

Quam has apologized for his behavior, telling the Post Bulletin via Facebook that he respects his opponent and his actions 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."

You can watch the entire exchange here courtesy of Tony Webster, who has uploaded the clip to YouTube. Quam grabs the mic around 2:03 and then throws it back at 2:48.

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