Key events in career of former Sen. Arlen Specter

Associated Press Modified: October 15, 2012 at 2:01 am •  Published: October 15, 2012

— 2004: Ekes out win in Senate GOP primary, beating U.S. Rep. 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 U.S. Rep. 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 for removing GOP moderates, says Washington gridlock has become "like a war."

—Aug. 28, 2012: Confirms that he is battling cancer again, calls it "another battle I intend to win."

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