Arlen Specter (born February 12, 1930) is a United States Senator from Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Born to a Jewish family in Russell, Kansas (also the hometown of 1996 Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole), Specter studied at universities before and after serving in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1953. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951 and from Yale Law School in 1956. He passed the Pennsylvania Bar in 1956.
He soon became a prominent lawyer in Philadelphia and became active in politics, beginning his political life as a Democrat. He worked with the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As a chief counsel for the commission, he authored the controversial "single bullet theory".
He eventually became a Republican and scored an upset by winning a race for District Attorney in heavily Democratic Philadelphia running on an anti-corruption platform against the Democratic machine. His slogan, deemed "brilliant" by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, was "We need these guys to watch those guys." He briefly represented the "unicorn killer," Ira Einhorn, who remained at large for years after Specter successfully argued his bond should be reduced to $40,000. Specter dropped Einhorn as a client just before his run for DA.
He mounted an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of Philadelphia in 1973. He was defeated in the 1976 Republican Primary for U.S. Senate by John Heinz and in the 1978 primary for Governor of Pennsylvania, losing to Dick Thornburgh.