Republican Ralph Hall of Texas, who at 91 is the oldest-ever member of the U.S. House, has lost his bid to follow 17 terms in office with another one, which he had promised would be his last. He was narrowly defeated in a GOP runoff election May 27 by former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, 48, who made Hall’s age an issue in the campaign.
Hall, first elected to the House in 1981, was the only World War II veteran on Capitol Hill seeking reelection. During his tenure, he witnessed the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. He also switched from being a Democrat to a Republican in 2004.
ThinkProgress reports that a Missouri-based political action committee spent roughly $100,000 on ads that questioned the suitability of the 91-year-old representative. One ad that aired prior to Hall’s 91st birthday noted, “Now he’s 90, the oldest member in Congress ever.” Hall’s GOP opponent Ratcliffe said age was a “fair” issue to be considered.
Hall aimed to serve an 18th term to help bring a Republican to the presidency. However, with Hall’s loss in the primary runoff and no Democrat running as opposition, Ratcliffe’s win in the general election this November is all but assured.
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