March 12, 2014

Longtime US Rep. Ralph Hall, 90, Faces Runoff

A conservative former U.S. attorney forced the oldest member of the U.S. House into a runoff election Tuesday night for the Republican nomination.

Ralph Hall, seeking an 18th and final term in his Texas congressional seat, did not win 50 percent of the vote in the Republican primary in Texas’ 4th Congressional District, which stretches from Rockwall north and east toward Sherman and Texarkana. He’ll face challenger John Ratcliffe in a May 27 runoff.

The 90-year-old Hall is a World War II veteran who has served in Congress since 1980, and he had declared that this year’s re-election campaign would be his last.

That didn’t stop five Republican challengers from running against him, many of them questioning Hall’s conservatism and physical ability to represent his district in Congress. Hall said he was forced to stay in Washington in order to avoid missing a vote during the most intense campaigning and ultimately he fell far short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.

“The guys got a lot of money and he can spend a lot of money, but that’s not always going to do it,” Hall said by phone from Washington. “He’s a nice guy, but I’m ready to go and I think I’m going to win it.”

Hall said he would have more time between now May to campaign in his district.

Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney during the George W. Bush administration and mayor of the North Texas town of Heath, received about 30 percent of the vote.

“It’s time for Republicans to stop losing to president Obama and his liberal allies on the issues that are important to the future of this country,” he said. “It’s time for Republicans to finally start winning again.”

Ratcliffe promised to take strict conservative positions on illegal immigration and government spending.

By CHRIS TOMLINSON Associated Press