Tea Party Gets Primary Scalp: Ralph Hall, Last Really Really Really Really Old Man In Congress

Tea Party Gets Primary Scalp: Ralph Hall, Last Really Really Really Really Old Man In Congress

Ralph Hall, the 91-year-old World War II fighter pilot who has represented Texas's 4th District since 1980, lost his primary to a Tea Partier last night. Combined with the planned retirement of Michigan's John Dingell (D-Ohmigod So Old), Hall's defeat means that the next Congress will have zero World War II veterans, unless Zombie Douglas MacArthur wins his write-in challenge against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. However, Hall did become the only House incumbent to lose his fight to a Tea Party-backed candidate, so even though Hall had the NRA's endorsement, the rabid ferrets at Still Dead Breitbart's Cyber Screech-a-torium are likely to view this as FREEDOM!!!1! on the march.

Hall is not dumb — he had the good sense to switch his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican back in 2004 after the boys in Austin did him a solid — and he knew he was facing a tough fight. There was no getting around the fact that Hall is old enough to have actually witnessed the geological formation of the East Texas Oil Field, and he deftly addressed his age late in the campaign with this charming ad.

Like you wouldn't vote for that guy! You would totally vote for that guy, he seems like he'd look you in the eye, shake your hand, and give your children some delicious Werther's Original hard candy. But, of course, this being politics, even Hall's wrinkles aren't quite what they seem.

In a television ad, he points to wrinkles on his face and declares them scars from political battles, although aides acknowledge that Hall had cosmetic surgery in the fall because some of the wrinkles were affecting his eyesight.


Still, though, technology passed Hall by, and he couldn't compete with these young whippersnappers and their damned computer machines.

A former U.S. attorney, [Hall's opponent] Ratcliffe has used modern analytics to better target would-be voters. [...] Hall has relied on a more-traditional campaign, using direct mailings and walking the district, interacting with voters and handing out pennies fitted with bands bearing his name. Since 2010 alone, campaign finance records show Hall spent more than $34,000 on hams from Honey Baked Foods - which aides said were gifts to constituents.

We do not know what "pennies fitted with bands bearing his name" even means.

Hall flew the Grumman F6 Hellcat from American carriers in the Pacific during World War II, which is a far more badass thing than Yr Wonket will likely ever do. He was married to the same woman for more than 60 years, and the WaPo reports that "His voice breaks when he mentions his late wife, Mary Ellen." When he wore a younger man's clothes, Hall actually met Bonnie and Clyde, HE IS THAT OLD.

“They [Bonnie and Clyde] wanted a carton of Old Golds, two Coca-Colas and all the newspapers we had,” he recalls. “I went and got what they wanted, they gave me $3 and they said keep the change.”

A carton of smokes and some ancient artifact called a "news-paper" for less than $3? Times really have changed.

Sure, Hall was a climate change denier, and sure, there was that exceedingly icky episode with Jack Abramoff and a young woman who was sold into prostitution, but we are here to praise Ralph Hall, not to bury him. The actual burying of Ralph Hall will happen soon enough.

[Washington Post/CBS News]


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