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Oldest US congressman loses seat to Tea Party Republican

US President George W. Bush and Congressman Ralph Hall wave as they arrive on Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas on March 8, 2004The oldest serving member in the US Congress, Ralph Hall, lost his re-election bid to a Tea Party-backed challenger barely half his age. The 91-year-old Texan, first elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1980 but who became a Republican in 2004, was seeking an 18th term when he was bounced late Tuesday in a party run-off, becoming the first incumbent this year to lose a US primary election. John Ratcliffe, a 48-year-old former US attorney, won the race in the first significant congressional victory this election cycle for the anti-tax, small-government Tea Party movement after a series of defeats for their endorsed candidates in other states. Hall led in the original Republican primary in March but failed to win an outright majority, prompting the runoff in which he slumped after tea party groups and the conservative Club for Growth endorsed Ratcliffe, who argued that Texas conservatives need a fresh face in Washington.

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