Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter — who embodied a dying breed of liberal Republicanism, switching to the Democratic Party at the twilight of his political career — died after a lengthy battle with cancer, his family announced Sunday.
Specter died of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Sunday morning at his home in Philadelphia, his family said. He was 82.
The veteran Pennsylvania senator had overcome numerous serious illnesses over the past two decades, including a brain tumor and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He had been in the public eye since the 1960s, when he first gained attention as a member of the Warren Commission.
Specter was elected to the Senate in 1980 and represented Pennsylvania in that chamber longer than anyone in history.
All along, his politically moderate image fit hand in glove with the politically blue Northeast, both its Democratic centrists and its liberal Republicans.
He had long been one of America’s most prominent Jewish politicians, a rare Republican in a category dominated by Democrats over the decades.
His name is synonymous with Pennsylvania, an idiosyncratic state that pushes and pulls between the two parties, and his home, the staunchly Democratic city of Philadelphia.
“One of the few true wild cards of Washington politics,” a 2006 article in Philadelphia magazine called him, “reviled by those on both the right and the left.”
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Article courtesy cnn.com