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The Arlen Specter Career In Buttons

May 19, 2010

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Arlen Specter's defeat in the Democratic primary yesterday in Pennsylvania ends the career of the longest serving senator in commonwealth history, a career that wasn't always successful, but was often memorable.

Below, a selection of campaign buttons from his long career.

1965 — elected district attorney in Philadelphia over incumbent Democrat Jim Crumlish.

1967 — ran for mayor of Philadelphia as a registered Democrat but with the backing of the Republican Party; he lost to incumbent Democrat James Tate.

1969 — by now a Republican, he is re-elected district attorney; defeated in his bid for a third term in 1973.

1976 — ran for Senate, lost to Rep. John Heinz in the GOP primary.

1978 — ran for governor, lost to Dick Thornburgh in the GOP primary.

1980 — ran for Senate again.  In the GOP primary, he narrowly beat Bud Haabestad, who was backed by Heinz and Thornburgh.  In the general election, he defeated former Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty (D) with 50.5% of the vote.

1986 — won 2nd Senate term, 56% over Rep. Bob Edgar (D).

1992 — won 3rd Senate term, 49% over Lynn Yeakel (D).

1995 — declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on March 31.  Less than 8 months later, he dropped out of the race.

1998 — won 4th Senate term, 61% over Bill Lloyd.

2004 — narrowly defeated Rep. Pat Toomey in the GOP primary with 51% of the vote.  Won 5th Senate term in November, 53% over Rep. Joe Hoeffel.

2009 — switched to the Democratic Party on April 28.

2010 — defeated in the Democratic primary by Rep. Joe Sestak, 54-46%.

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