Former Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole of Kansas died on Dec. 5, 2021. He was 98.
Dole had served in the U.S. Senate from 1968 to 1996, and had been Senate president for the last 11 years of his tenure.
Dole won the Republican nomination for president in 1996 and chose Jack Kemp as his running mate. They lost in the general election to then-President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
Earlier in Alaska that year, Dole finished third behind Patrick J. Buchanan and Steve Forbes, in the Republican presidential straw poll.
Dole had earlier run for president in 1988, and in Alaska lost a straw poll in the Republican caucus to televangelist Pat Robertson and then Vice President George H. W. Bush. Ultimately, Bush won the nomination of the Republican Party that year, and he lost to Bill Clinton.
Dole was the running mate for President Gerald Ford in 1976 after Vice President Nelson Rockefeller withdrew from the race. The Ford-Dole ticket lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale that year.
Dole was also the chairman of the Republican National Committee during the 1970s.
Before his political life and his career as an attorney, Dole was a World War II veteran who was badly wounded in combat in Italy. He nearly died from his wounds received from a German shell near Bologna, and only lived due to the use of an experimental drug, streptomycin, which reduced his severe infections and 109-degree fever. His right arm and shoulder were rendered useless, so he learned to write with his left hand, and often used his right hand to hold a pen.
Dole was married to the Elizabeth Dole, who served in several presidential administrations and who was a U.S. senator for one term, representing North Carolina. Dole died in his sleep on Dec. 5, according to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
Learn more about Dole’s 79 years of service to the country at this link.
In 2006, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens offered a tribute to Dole on the floor of the Senate, noting that he and Dole were the only remaining members of the “class of 1968” when Dole resigned from the Senate in 1996:
TRIBUTE TO SENATOR ROBERT DOLE Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, yesterday, we honored our colleague, Senator Robert Byrd, for achieving an important milestone in our Senate's history. Today, we come to the floor to pay tribute to another man who stands out as a giant among those who have served in this Chamber. Senator Bob Dole, last Sunday, marked the 10-year anniversary of his retirement from the Senate. Bob Dole and I came to the Senate at the same time. We have worked together a great deal. When I was Republican whip and he was our party's Vice Presidential nominee, I was asked to help him prepare for his debate when he debated Walter Mondale--the first Vice Presidential debate in history. Bob helped us pass the Alaskan Native Land Claims Settlement Act, which paved the way for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. And he supported the Alaska Lands Act and the Alaska Railroad Transfer. In short, Bob Dole is a great personal friend, a friend to me and to Alaska. Bob was--and still is--a leader in the truest sense of the word. Whenever I think of Bob Dole, I think of the great many men I have known who were tested in World War II. Like my good friend Senator Inouye, Bob Dole is a true war hero. He was tested in war and injured and struggled back through a long recovery. Like all great leaders, Bob takes great challenges of life and uses them to improve the world around him. Having been injured in World War II, he dedicated much of his time in public service to improving the opportunities for disabled Americans. Those of us in the Senate who were fortunate enough to call Bob a colleague for 27 years, chose him to serve as our leader six times, when we were in the majority and the minority. He reached out to those who disagreed with him. He listened to advice. You never had to ask him twice to know where he stood; his word was--and is--his bond. As President Reagan said: His title of leader is not just a job title, it's a description of the man. I think Bob's decision to resign his seat rather than stay in the Senate and campaign for the Presidency demonstrates what a devoted public servant he is. I have now been in the Senate over 30 years, and I have seen Members of this body run for President and miss vote after vote because they were on the road campaigning. Bob Dole loved the people of Kansas too much to leave them without a voice in the Senate, so he resigned. I believe that took great courage. If there is one thing about Bob Dole that there is no shortage of, it is courage. Bob himself said, when he resigned from the Senate: One of the qualities of American politics that distinguishes us from other nations is that we judge our politicians as much by the manner by which they leave office as by the vigor with which they pursue it. You do not lay claim to the office you hold, it lays claim to you. Your obligation is to bring to it the gifts you can of labor and honesty and then to depart with grace. By his own standards, Bob Dole stands out as one of the most noble and dignified men who ever graced these Halls. Senator Dole did not win the 1996 Presidential election, but his commitment to public service has not wavered. He still contributes to the public debate through his writing and speaking, and he has remained active on the campaign trail. We have been fortunate that since his retirement another Dole has joined this Chamber--his wife, Senator Elizabeth Dole, who serves the people of North Carolina and our Nation, also, with great distinction. When Senator Dole resigned from the Senate 10 years ago to run for President, he and I were the only remaining Members of the class of 1968. We have a bond that was forged on the morning of January 3, 1969, when we each took the oath to serve our country in the Senate. That bond never fades, and I salute his service today.