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Ratcliffe: 'Still chasing,' but gaining

Congressional candidate John Ratcliffe talks with potential voters during a recent event at Crawford's Hole in the Wall (eParis photo by Jeff Parish)
Congressional candidate John Ratcliffe talks with potential voters during a recent event at Crawford’s Hole in the Wall (eParis photo by Jeff Parish)

John Ratcliffe says he’s still behind in the runoff election against Ralph Hall for the 4th Congressional District of Texas, but is catching up.

“I feel like I’m still chasing, but the exciting thing to me is all my support is grassroots, and the incumbent is getting support from the establishment,” he said. “I’ve got to make up a lot of ground. I’m running against a guy who’s been campaigning in this district for 63 years, and I’ve been campaigning about four months.”

The runoff is set for May 27. Hall won 45 percent in the March primary – short of the majority needed to secure a primary win – which Ratcliffe likes to point out means that 55 percent “voted for someone else.” Ratcliffe garnered 29 percent.

The challenger said his record as a U.S. attorney, chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas and mayor of Heath make him a viable alternative.

He spoke at a meet-and-greet that Gary and Sydney Young, longtime acquaintances of Ratcliffe, hosted at Crawford’s Hole in the Wall earlier this week

“Lamar County has been really good to me,” he said. “I’ve been here a lot. This is my third trip to Paris in the last 11 days.”

Ratcliffe frequently described Hall as a “nice man” who is “well liked,” but said many people feel it’s time for a change.

At 90, Hall is the oldest member of Congress and one of the longest-serving members, having been in office since 1981. His first political office was county judge of Rockwall County, a position he was elected to in 1950.

“I got in this race because I felt a majority of people in this district liked Ralph Hall, but felt it was time for a change,” Ratcliffe said. “He’s had 34 years to fix the problems in Washington, and Washington has never been more broken.”

Recent campaign finance reports show that Hall still had $177,000 on hand while the challenger had $158,000. To date, Ratcliffe has raised $314,000 from individual donors, nearly double Hall’s $176,000.

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