Major events during Arlen Specter’s career

  1959: Hired as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia.

  1964: Serves on the Warren Commission, which concludes that a lone assassin killed President John F. Kennedy.

  1965: Runs successfully on Republican ticket for Philadelphia district attorney, even though he was a Democrat.


  1967: Loses election for Philadelphia mayor.

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  1969: Elected to second term as district attorney.

  1973: Loses bid for third term as district attorney.

  1976: Loses GOP Senate primary.

  1978: Loses GOP gubernatorial primary.


  1980: Wins Pennsylvania’s open US Senate seat and joins new Republican majority in the chamber.

  1986: Elected to second term in Senate.

  1987: Helps defeat PresidentReagan’s Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork.

  1991: Aggressively questions Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court nomination hearing.

  1992: Elected to third term in Senate.


  1995: Announces candidacy for president. Suspends campaign later that year amid fundraising difficulties.

  1998: Elected to fourth term in Senate.

  2004: Ekes out win in Senate GOP primary, beating US Representative Pat Toomey by 17,146 votes, or 1.6 percentage points. Wins a fifth term in November.

  2005: Begins two-year term as chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee.

  February 2009: Votes for Democrats’ economic stimulus package, inflaming GOP sentiment against him.

  April 15, 2009: Toomey announces he will mount another challenge to Specter in 2010 Senate GOP primary.

  April 28, 2009: Specter announces he is changing party registration from Republican to Democrat.

  August 4, 2009: Democratic US Representative Joe Sestak announces his Senate candidacy.

  May 18, 2010: Sestak defeats Specter in Democratic Party primary.

  Dec. 22, 2010: Specter takes last vote in Senate.

  Jan. 3, 2011: Senate term ends.

  Oct. 19, 2011: In speech, Specter blames the Tea Party movement for removing GOP moderates, says Washington gridlock has become ‘‘like a war.’’

  Aug. 28, 2012: Confirms that he is battling cancer again.

 Oct. 14, 2012: Son confirms Specter’s death at his Philadelphia home of complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

Associated Press