After 34 years in the U.S. House, 91 year old Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) lost his bid for another term in office, as voters in a Republican runoff instead chose a 48 year old former federal prosecutor in a heavily Republican district in the Dallas area.
“I entered this race because I want a better path for America than the one that we’re on right now,” said John Ratcliffe, who served as a U.S. Attorney in the George W. Bush Administration.
“I thank Congressman Hall for serving us admirably, and wish him the best moving forward,” Ratcliffe added in a written statement after he was declared the winner by news organizations.
In defeat, Hall became the first sitting member of Congress to be knocked off in 2014 by voters, as 43 members of the current House of Representatives won’t be back in January of 2015, almost exactly ten percent of the 435 member legislative body.
First elected in 1980 as a Democrat, Hall was one of the group of conservative Democrats during the Reagan Administration known as the “Boll Weevils” – today’s Blue Dogs – who helped Republicans push through Reagan’s tax and budget plans in 1981.
Hall stayed a Democrat until the 2004 elections, when he switched to the GOP, and has been a Republican ever since.
The oldest U.S. House member in history, Hall had promised to serve just one more term if he won the GOP runoff – but he was unable to get past Ratcliffe, who led Hall by a 53-47% margin with most of the votes counted.
Ratcliffe will be the overwhelming favorite in November, as he will face only a Libertarian candidate; no Democrat ran in the district that goes from the east side of Dallas to the Oklahoma and Louisiana border.
Hall’s defeat means there will be no World War II veterans serving in the Congress in 2015.