ROCHESTER, Minn. (WCCO) — A Republican lawmaker is apologizing after he took the microphone out of his Democratic opponent’s hand during a legislative forum Monday in Rochester.

The forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, featured GOP state Rep. Duane Quam and DFL candidate Jamie Mahlberg at the Rochester Public Library.

As the debate was coming to a close, Quam reached over and snatched the microphone out of Mahlberg’s hand in an attempt to voice his rebuttal to her earlier point.

The audience appeared unsettled, while Mahlberg also seemed surprised by Quam’s action. When Quam was done with his remarks, he threw the microphone back down in front of Mahlberg, drawing more shock from the audience.

The Post-Bulletin reports Quam later said the gesture was a result of “nerves.”

Mahlberg says she doesn’t intend to use the video of the incident to advance her campaign, but she’s disappointed with what transpired.

“How would anybody feel being on the receiving end of that kind of disrespect?” Mahlberg said. “I was very startled and taken aback and ultimately disappointed in it.”

Quam offered his “sincere apologies” to Mahlberg and says he looks forward to “continuing a positive campaign.”

Quam is a five-time incumbent of Minnesota District 25A, which serves portions of Dodge and Olmsted counties.

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