After we posted about Southeastern Minnesota's latest viral thing--driven by notice of Rochester nurse Alisha Eiken's social media--in How chivalrous: state representative Duane Quam shares the new civility with Ms. Mahlberg, the story has gone national.
Not that Bluestem had much to do with this. Credit goes to Eiken's compelling material, grabbed from a local public access channel online, and widely shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Minnesota Public Radio's Catherine Richert reports in Mic grab in debate goes viral:
A tense moment in a debate between two candidates running for a Byron-area Minnesota House seat has gone viral.
In Rochester Monday, Republican Rep. Duane Quam grabbed the microphone from his female DFL opponent Jamie Mahlberg – and then tossed it back to her when he was done talking. . . .
Mahlberg, a teacher at Rochester Community and Technical College and first-time candidate, said that so far, gender equality hasn’t been a big issue in her campaign. Instead, many of the discussions have been around access to education and health care.
“We’ve been running this campaign with this notion that opportunity is for everyone,” Mahlberg said. “I was in shock. It was unexpected for that to happen. I was disappointed to be on the receiving end of this behavior by my elected representative.”
Mahlberg said Quam hasn’t apologized directly to her.
In a statement to MPR News, Quam offered his “sincere apologies to Jamie.”
“I want to apologize to Jamie Mahlberg. I respect Jamie and my actions at Monday’s forum did not reflect that,” wrote Quam, an engineer who has represented the area since 2010. “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.”
The clip has been picked up by Huffington Post, Bustle and Yahoo News among others, which Mahlberg said has prompted a wave of unexpected donations in the final weeks of the election. She won’t say exactly how much money, but she said it’s been in the thousands with contributions coming from outside the district and outside the state.
Since MPR posted Rickert's report, the Washington Post chimed in with A Minnesota Republican snatched his opponent’s mic, then dropped it in front of her. The post, which went live at 12:44, presumably Eastern time, has received over 400 comments. The WaPo readers are not kind to representative Quam.
The Post report follows Hannah Jones' reporting at City Pages in Jamie Mahlberg has mic wrenched from her hand by Rep. Duane Quam during debate. The New York Post shared the video in 'Nervous' candidate violently rips mic from opponent's hands.
At The Hill? Minnesota GOP lawmaker yanks mic from female challenger during debate, which has been shared over 3600 times.
Within the last hour, KSTP has reported Minnesota Lawmaker Apologizes for Yanking Mic from Opponent. We're still curious whether Quam has directly apologized to Mahlberg, or would that be too hard on his nerves?
Locally, the Post Bulletin reported Quam's mic grab creates a commotion.
Here's a video of the moment, in case somehow, some way, you missed it. Tony Webster's YouTube has enjoyed 320,000 plus views since he posted it last night.
Photo: Duane Quam at rest in the Minnesota House.
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