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GOP Sen. Jerry Relph dies of COVID-19 complications

He was one of several GOP lawmakers infected in an outbreak shortly after the election.
Jerry Relph

Minnesota State Sen. Jerry Relph has died from COVID-19 complications.

The 76-year-old who represents St. Cloud had been hospitalization since testing positive for the virus in November.

He was one of several Republican senators who tested positive for the virus in the days after the party held a caucus meeting and a post-election dinner party on Nov. 5. An estimated 100-150 people attended the party, many of whom were reportedly not wearing face masks.

Among the others who tested positive in the days that followed was Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.

Relph has served in the Senate since his election in 2016, and earlier this year was the lead author of early response COVID-19 legislation. He lost his re-election bid to DFLer Aric Putnam in a close race, within the margin for a recount.

A Massachusetts native, Relph was a graduate of Carleton College and also served in Vietnam in the Marine Corps.

His first wife, Colette, died in 1999. He married Pegi Broker in 2002. He has two children and four stepchildren.

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