By Emily Langer
Ralph M. Hall, a Texas Democrat-turned-Republican who was elected 17 times to Congress, where he became dean of his state’s delegation, one of the last veterans of World War II on Capitol Hill and the oldest person in history to serve in the House, died March 7 at his home in Rockwall, Texas. He was 95.
His longtime political strategist, Ed Valentine, confirmed the death and said he did not know the cause.
A former Navy pilot and Texas state senator, Mr. Hall was elected to the House in 1980 as a Democrat and for the next 34 years — the final decade as a Republican — represented a swath of the Red River Valley in eastern Texas. He announced that his 2014 campaign would be his last and was defeated in the Republican primary by John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney who pledged to serve no more than eight years.
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