Pete McCloskey, the Republican who tried to unseat Nixon, dies at 96

But it was a clear victory for Mr McCloskey, who said he had exposed Mr Robertson as “the fraudster that he is”. (Mr. Robertson, who dropped out of the presidential race, did serve in Korea, but primarily as a supply officer, far from combat duty.)

In attempting a political comeback in 2006, Mr. McCloskey lost a primary fight to Representative Richard W. Pombo, a seven-term Republican who opposed environmental reforms. Mr. McCloskey, ever the maverick, supported Democrat Jerry McNerney in the general election, and Mr. Pombo lost. The following year, at age 79, Mr. McCloskey changed his affiliation to the Democratic Party.

“The new form of Republicanism,” which he described as hostile to progressive causes, ultimately led him to abandon the party he joined in 1948, Mr. McCloskey wrote in a letter to The Tracy Press, a California weekly. whose articles and editorials have been published. widely discussed in state information and opinion forums.

Mr. McCloskey lived for many years in Woodside and owned a home in Portola Valley, both in the Bay Area, and a farm in Rumsey, northwest of Sacramento. He served as a trustee of the Monterey Institute of International Studies and led efforts to help veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars receive college educations upon their return from service.

Mr. McCloskey and Helen McCloskey are the subjects of a documentary film, “Helen and the Bear,” recently released by his niece Alix Blair, a filmmaker.

“Just as he lived his life with courage, action and compassion,” Ms. Blair said in the family statement, “Pete brought those qualities to their marriage. The film is a celebration of his open-mindedness.

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