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GOP state house member grabs mic from female opponent at debate

Updated 11:56 AM ET, Wed October 10, 2018

Washington (CNN) - A Minnesota Republican member of the state house has expressed his apologies for grabbing a microphone from his female opponent's hands during a forum earlier this week.

Video of the forum on Monday with GOP Rep. Duane Quam and his Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party challenger Jamie Mahlberg gained some traction online for the apparently charged moment in the local race.

The pair were sharing one microphone, and when Quam signaled he wanted to respond to one of Mahlberg's points, he grabbed the microphone from her hands. When he was done, Quam moved to pass the microphone back to her and she declined, looking away from him, at which point he dropped it on the table in front of her.

A Minnesota newspaper said the yank "drew a gasp from the audience" and Quam's toss at the end drew "commotion."

Mahlberg called the moment unexpected and told CNN in a phone interview that Quam had not apologized to her "directly."

"It's just important that we treat each other respectfully," Mahlberg said.

Quam, who is vying for a fifth term in the Minnesota legislature, told CNN in an emailed statement that he wanted to apologize to Mahlberg and attributed the moment to nerves.

"I respect Jamie and my actions at Monday's forum did not reflect that," Quam said. "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."

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