Oldest Member of House Ousted in Texas GOP Primary

By Will Weissert and Nomaan Merchant
|  Wednesday, May 28, 2014  |  Updated 1:39 AM EDT
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Little-known Republican primary challenger John Ratcliffe defeated Rep. Ralph Hall in the first runoff he'd ever faced.

Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News

Little-known Republican primary challenger John Ratcliffe defeated Rep. Ralph Hall in the first runoff he'd ever faced.

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Ratcliffe Beats Hall in Rep. GOP Primary

The 91-year-old Texas Republican who is the oldest-ever member of the U.S. House has been ousted by Republican John Ratcliffe in a primary runoff.
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The 91-year-old Texas Republican who is the oldest-ever member of the U.S. House has been ousted in a primary runoff.

Little-known Republican primary challenger John Ratcliffe defeated Rep. Ralph Hall in the first runoff he'd ever faced.

"I really believe that most people in this district were like me, they like congressman Hall, they appreciate his record of service, but they think it was time for a change," Ratcliffe said. "Time for new leadership and new ideas."

Hall, who once had a brush with the notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, first came to Congress in 1980.

He asked voters in his northeastern Texas district to elect him for an 18th term, promising it would be his last.

"I've had so many good ones, you're bound to have a bad one every now and then," Hall said. "I lost January and February this year because Congress was in session. That was my job, and it's not where anybody said I ought to be, it's where I wanted to be because I'm proud to be their congressman. I just didn't have time to catch up with him."

Hall thanked supporters at his campaign headquarters in Rockwall. After 33 years in Congress, he said he owes something to every one of his constituents. 

"I'm not going to retire," Hall said. "I'm sure not going to quit. I have a job until the 31st day of December. How many 91-year-old men can say that."

Backed by national conservative groups, the 48-year-old Ratcliffe used modern analytics to better target voters.

Hall countered with a traditional campaigning style, though he too was endorsed by some top tea party activists.

No Democrat is running, ensuring Ratcliffe will win in November.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

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