Rep. Ralph Hall Tuesday became the first congressional incumbent to lose a primary this year, falling to former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe.
Hall, Congress’ oldest member at 90, lost the Texas Republican primary. The former Democrat had to defend his age, and did so with ads joking about it. Associated Press declared Ratcliffe the winner.
As McClatchy’s Maria Recio wrote in December after talking to Hall:
The World War II Navy fighter pilot said in an interview that internal polling showed that when people were asked about someone running at 90, there was a sizable 20 percent who would be against him based on age.
Although Hall is confident that he can win in 2014, as he has handily since first winning the seat in 1980, he also sees the political reality reflected in the polls.
“That helped me decide that this should probably be my last time,” Hall told McClatchy. “It is my last campaign.”
His age is the issue that he calls “the spear I have to blunt.’ I am 90. I can work day or night,” he said. “I’ the same guy but the polls show the effect of age. That’s the issue.”
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