Dallas Paper Backs Opponent of Oldest House Member

Photograph by Tom Worner/Tyler Telegraph/AP Photo

Congressman Ralph Hall at Bergfeld Park in Tyler, Texas, during a rally to support the U.S. troops in this April 5, 2003 file photo.

Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, the oldest person ever to serve in the House of Representatives, has said that the new term he’s seeking this year would be his last.

The Dallas Morning News’s editorial page, backing a big-spending challenger to Hall in the March 4 Republican primary, wants the 90-year-old congressman’s current term to be his last.

“This newspaper applauds Hall’s long service, but there comes a time when new ideas and fresh energy are needed,” an editorial published last night said in endorsing John Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor and small-city mayor who’s largely self-financing his campaign in the northeastern 4th District.

Of the  $471,427 that Ratcliffe raised through December,  $400,300 came in the form of a personal loan.

Hall’s campaign will file an updated campaign finance report by Jan. 31. He had $107,979 in campaign funds as of Sept. 30.

Ratcliffe has said the district needs “new, energetic leadership” to confront President Barack Obama’s agenda.

Hall, who’s served in the House since 1981, is seeking re-election on a platform that includes opposition to the 2010 Affordable Care Act.  “My goals for the new year continue to be balancing the budget, reforming the tax code, and defunding ‘ObamaCare,”” he said in a Jan. 15 statement.

Hall won 58 percent of the vote in the 2012 primary against two opponents including Lou Gigliotti, who took 21 percent and joins Ratcliffe among the  five opponents challenging Hall n this year’s primary.

If no candidate wins a majority of votes, a runoff election between the top two finishers would be held on May 27.

Winning the Republican primary is tantamount to election in the 4th District (map), which gave President Barack Obama just 25 percent of the vote in the 2012 election. The district includes Sherman, Rockwall and Texarkana and borders Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

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