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Continued: Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams dies of cancer

  • Article by: KEVIN DIAZ , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 9, 2013 - 8:37 PM

Adding to Grams’ problems were the well-publicized arrests of his son Morgan, the oldest of four children by his first wife, Laurel. Grams also had to defend against allegations that Gunhus had written anonymous e-mails disparaging one of his potential Democratic rivals, Twin Cities ­attorney Mike Ciresi.

Then there was Dayton, a millionaire department-store heir and former state auditor who was able to vastly outspend Grams and outflank him on such issues as health care. In a three-way race where the third-party candidate netted only 5.8 percent of the vote, Grams lost to Dayton by 5.4 percentage points.

Despite their partisan differences, Democrats on Wednesday were effusive in their praise of Grams’ character and personality. Former Sikorski aide Dennis McGrann, now a Washington lobbyist, remembers Grams and Gunhus reaching out to Sikorski staffers after their defeat in 1992. “He was a true gentleman,” he said.

Minnesota Democrat Rep. Betty McCollum, in a statement on the House floor Wednesday, called him “a kind and engaging man who cared deeply about Minnesota.”

The state Republican Party issued a statement calling him “a great leader and a principled conservative. A statement from the state DFL said he “exemplifies how in Minnesota, people from humble beginnings can step up, get involved in politics and make a difference.”

According to Kaiser, Grams died at home Tuesday night with his wife at his side. He had been in hospice care following a recurrence of cancer, which he had battled since 2012 through several courses of ­chemotherapy treatments.

His family has asked that memorials to honor his legacy be sent to Crown Christian School, 7515 269th Av. NW., St. Francis, MN 55070.

A visitation for Grams will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Zion Lutheran Church, 7515 269th Av. NW., St. Francis. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the same ­location.

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