Arlen Specter Dead at 82

Longtime senator had battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 14, 2012 12:08 PM CDT
Arlen Specter Dead at 82
This November 1965 file photo shows Arlen Specter, who died Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. He was 82.   (AP Photo, File)

Former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republican-turned-Democrat who played a key role in many Supreme Court nominations, has died. He was 82. His son Shanin Specter says his father died this morning at home in Philadelphia, from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He had recently announced the return of his cancer and other health problems. Specter served 30 years in the Senate, a Pennsylvania record.

In April 2009, he startled fellow senators when he announced he was switching to the Democratic side because he did not think he could win the nomination for a sixth term in the increasingly conservative GOP. He wound up losing the 2010 Democratic primary to then-Rep. Joe Sestak, who narrowly lost Specter's seat to conservative Pat Toomey. In his forced retirement, however, he proved to be quite a character, writing a book and doing stand-up comedy. (More Arlen Specter stories.)

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