There's no guarantee that U.S. Congressman Ralph Hall, who has represented Rockwall and Northeast Texas in Washington for so long that they named a lake after him, will survive next year's Republican primary. For the first time in years, he's facing a formidable challenger in former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe.
Hall, who turns 91 in May and is the oldest-ever member of Congress, is undaunted. "I'll outwork him," Hall told The Dallas Morning News. "I'll talk to a lot more people than he's gonna talk to."
Despite this bravado, however, Hall is uncharacteristically making one large concession to his heretofore unacknowledged mortality. According to the Rockwall Herald-Banner, he announced last week that this will be his final bid for public office.
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On the one hand, we're disappointed to see Hall surrender to the naysaying ageists out there after what at the end of another term would be a mere 36 years in Congress. On the other, his efforts to prove he remains in full control of his faculties, by riding an elephant, skydiving, and mistakenly wandering into a gay-rights soiree, have become increasingly desperate.
We fear that another Congressional run would prompt him to demonstrate his vigor by swimming across Lake Ray Hubbard (potentially tragic) and siring offspring with young Northeast Texas woman (too gross to imagine). On balance, this seems like the right call.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.