ROCKWALL, Texas, May 28 (UPI) -- Ralph Hall, the oldest person ever to serve in the House of Representatives, has lost a Republican primary runoff in Texas to a man 33 years younger.
John Ratcliffe, 48, a former U.S. attorney, won 53 percent of the vote in the 4th District north and northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worrth area. Hall, 91, got 47 percent.
Hall, who was first elected to Congress in 1980, is the first incumbent to lose in a primary this year. He spent much of his political career as a Democrat, changing parties in 2004.
While Hall led the field in a six-way primary, he failed to gain the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff. During the runoff campaign, Ratcliffe emphasized Hall's long tenure, although as the election drew near he also made his age an issue.
In addition, Ratcliffe received backing from the Club for Growth and other groups with ties to the Tea Party. Hall also had some Tea Party support.
Hall served as a Navy pilot during World War II. He and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who is retiring, are the last two veterans of the war in the House.