Bob Dole, who served in the Senate for nearly 30 years and was the Republican nominee for President in 1996, has died at the age of 98.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep,” his wife Elizabeth’s foundation announced on Sunday. “At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”
Born and raised in Kansas, Dole served in the Army during World War II before working as a lawyer and being elected to the House of Representatives in 1960. Dole was then elected to the Senate in 1968, representing the state of Kansas there until 1996. He served as the Republican Party’s Senate leader from 1985 until 1996, and also ran as Gerald Ford’s vice-president in the 1976 election, but Ford was defeated by Jimmy Carter.
Dole ran for President several times, losing in the 1988 primaries to George H.W. Bush. He returned in 1996, though, and claimed the Republican nomination, running against incumbent Democrat Bill Clinton. Dole chose Jack Kemp as his running mate, but lost the 1996 election to Clinton by a substantial margin. He retired from the Senate that year to concentrate on his presidential campaign and never again ran for elected office.
Dole was a mainstay in American political life for decades and inspired a number of pop-culture parodies. Norm Macdonald played Dole on Saturday Night Live during the 1996 campaign, and Dole himself appeared on the show to confront Macdonald after the election. Watch a clip of Macdonald as Dole here: