Big test Tuesday for House’s oldest congressman

McClatchy Washington BureauMay 27, 2014 

Could Tuesday see the first defeat of an incumbent member of Congress this year?

Rep. Ralph Hall is in a tight primary runoff race with former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe. Hall got 45 percent of the vote in the primary in March, while Ratcliffe had 29 percent.

Hall, a Texas Republican, is at 91 the House of Representatives’ oldest member. While Ratcliffe does not stress age, it’s clearly a factor in the race.

As McClatchy’s Maria Recio wrote in December after talking to Hall:

“The World War II Navy fighter pilot said in an interview that internal polling showed that when people were asked about someone running at 90, there was a sizable 20 percent who would be against him based on age.

“Although Hall is confident that he can win in 2014, as he has handily since first winning the seat in 1980, he also sees the political reality reflected in the polls.

“That helped me decide that this should probably be my last time,” Hall told McClatchy. “It is my last campaign.” His age is the issue that he calls ‘the spear I have to blunt.’’’

“I am 90. I can work day or night,” he said. “I’m the same guy but the polls show the effect of age. That’s the issue.”

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