As a lab technician for 3M, Ms. Relph checks industrial masks. “The fact that people deny the science behind masks makes me even angrier,” she mentioned. She recalled that a Senate colleague of her father’s had stopped by her household’s home, with out a masks, whereas her father was in the hospital. “Point blank, he said, ‘I don’t think this is as serious as they’re telling us it is,’” Ms. Relph mentioned. “My dad was dying. These are people that think they’re good, kind, compassionate people, and yet they don’t act that way.”
On Nov. 3, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. comfortably gained Minnesota, however Republicans held their majority in the State Senate, due to energy in rural areas.
When Mr. Relph attended the dinner two days later, he gave the impression to be narrowly successful re-election in his swing district. But as extra ballots have been counted, his Democratic opponent edged forward, successful by 315 votes. Democrats wanted to flip simply two seats for a majority in the Senate. Although they gained Mr. Relph’s district, they misplaced a seat of their very own, and Republicans stored management.
Ms. Relph mentioned her father’s ambivalent embrace of the president may need value him help with the Republican base. He as soon as co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to focus on financial help to the Somali group. It earned him the nickname “Jihadi Jerry” amongst fervent Trump supporters, his daughter mentioned.
Last week, as the Legislature returned for its 2021 session, senators held a second of silence for Mr. Relph. Mr. Gazelka known as him “a great senator, a true friend.”
The majority chief additionally led his occasion in blocking a Democratic proposal to require masks in public areas of the Capitol, flouting a statewide masks mandate, imposed by the governor, in indoor settings. (The Legislature is just not topic to the governor’s orders.) Republicans questioned the effectiveness of masks. But Mr. Gazelka did embrace language in a decision “strongly encouraging” masks sporting.
Ms. Kent, the Democratic chief, mentioned that she had seen recently that Mr. Gazelka was at all times sporting a masks himself in the Capitol, the place earlier than he had not worn one. Besides Mr. Relph’s dying, Mr. Gazelka’s mother-in-law died in December after contracting Covid-19.