Oldest-Ever Congressman Faces Tea Party Challenge

Ralph Hall, 91, would be last WWII vet in Congress
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2014 2:34 AM CDT
Oldest-Ever Congressman Faces Tea Party Challenge
Rep. Ralph Hall mingles with fellow military veterans at a weekly "Band of Brothers" happy hour he attends nearly every week in his hometown of Rockwall, Texas.    (AP Photo/Will Weissert)

Ralph Hall, already the oldest person ever to serve in the House of Representatives, is seeking a final term but the 91-year-old faces a tough challenge today from a 48-year-old opponent. John Ratcliffe is backed by conservative groups with strong Tea Party ties in the Republican primary runoff and he says he is the stronger conservative, the AP reports. But Hall, who first won his Dallas-area seat in 1980 and switched from Democrat to Republican in 2004, says the younger man is "running against my birth certificate."

The contest will be a test of whether Hall's old-school, face-to-face campaigning style can hold up against his opponent's modern, digital, and data-heavy techniques, the AP noted last month. Hall—who once sold cigarettes and Coca-Cola to Bonnie and Clyde when he worked in a pharmacy as a boy—served in the Navy from 1942 to 1945 and if he does prevail, he will be the last World War II veteran in Congress, reports the New York Daily News. There are no veterans of the war still serving in the Senate and the only other World War II vet in the House is Michigan Democrat John Dingell, who is not seeking re-election. (Read more Ralph Hall stories.)

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