Minnesota state politics are heating up after a debate that took place between Republican Rep. Duane Quam and his Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party challenger, Jamie Mahlberg, resulted in a hostile exchange that has received widespread attention online.
During a League of Women Voters debate on Monday, Quam, the current District 25A representative, seemed a bit anxious to offer his rebuttal to one of Mahlberg’s points on funding education. That’s when he made the odd decision to simply grab the microphone out of Mahlberg’s hand, which left people calling him “utterly disrespectful.”
Alisha Eiken was the first to capture the moment from the debate footage and turn it into a GIF; it’s since been shared by a handful of other social media accounts.
Eiken advised the people watching from her Facebook page to share the clip, which resulted in more than 300 shares from her post alone. Twitter is also abuzz with commentary on the incident.
Inexcusable and utterly disrespectful. https://t.co/h9w3Yxd7N0
— Drew Nelson (@dwnels83) October 9, 2018
Seriously, Rep. Duane Quam. Is this appropriate behavior of a representative for our area? Would you have done that to a male opponent? No. I don't think you would have. Additionally, she's still a constituent and should be addressed… https://t.co/XL9O3OwlRW
— vangie castro 🌈 (@vangiec) October 9, 2018
Duane Quam is the physical embodiment of the cocky, white, male legislator. Let's send him a message that this kind of behavior is not okay.
— Clay Schwartzwalter (@ClaytheSchwartz) October 9, 2018
— Trista Schwind (@TESchwind) October 9, 2018
The kind of cool, calm, and collected demeanor we have come to know and respect from Duane Quam.
— Matt Wagenius (@mattwagenius) October 9, 2018
— Wilhelm Davis (@WilhelmDavis) October 9, 2018
Another GIF included the additional clip of Quam tossing the microphone back onto the table in front of Mahlberg before she answered the next question — behavior that somebody likened to President Trump’s. However, Mahlberg tells Yahoo Lifestyle, the occurrence won’t distract her from her campaign.
“It was disappointing to be on the receiving end of such disrespectful behavior from my current representative,” she says. “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.”
Quam and his team did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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