A Democratic lawmaker in Arizona received criticism for saying on social media he wanted to punch a female legislator "in the throat," the Arizona Republic reported.

Angered over State Sen. Debbie Lesko's (R-Glendale) support for an expanded school-voucher system, State Rep. Jesus Rubalcava (D-Yuma) wrote that he wanted to throat-punch her.

In a comment thread, Rubalcava discussed Lesko's bill, which would allow public money to be used to help families who want to send their kids to private schools or tutoring sessions.


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A commenter wrote that Lesko's "thank-you tour" enraged her, and Rubalcava responded "I wanted to punch her in the throat."

Rubalcava later deleted the comments, but not before the paper captured them in a screenshot.

At first, Lesko said she was not upset with Rubalcava's remarks, but later called the paper to express her anxiety over the situation.

"The more time that I've had to think... it's kind of disturbing," she said. "I don't know if [Rubalcava] has violent tendencies or what."

Rubalcava later apologized on the House floor in Phoenix, and added that he was raised by a single mother.

Lesko accepted the apology, but several state Republicans later called for "zero tolerance" of similar threats against women.

Governor Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) has since signed Lesko's bill.


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