Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

How to Tell Voters Their Congressman Is Old

Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, is really old.

And in case northeast Texas voters don’t know that already, a GOP super PAC wants to remind them.

Now or Never PAC released an advertisement Thursday that featured disco music, a picture of President Jimmy Carter and a narrator declaring, “Now he’s 90, the oldest member in Congress ever!”

Hall is in a dogfight of a runoff against another Republican, attorney John Ratcliff, on May 27.

Ratcliffe, who is not associated with the ad, denied in a recent interview with Roll Call that he was making Hall’s age an issue in the race. But he has alluded to the topic, running a biographical ad that used the word “new” five times.

A spokesman for the super PAC was unable to verify how much money the group put behind the ad, but a GOP source tracking ad buys estimated it to be at least $40,000.

Political ads that underscore a candidate’s advanced age through dated music and images are nothing new. But they haven’t been that successful, either.

In 2010, California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman aired a similar ad against Democrat Jerry Brown. The ad opened with 1960s music and images of a vinyl record player.

In 2012, American Action Network, a center-right outside group, revisited the concept with an ad against now-Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., who served in Congress in the 1970s. The ad resembles the anti-Hall spot, featuring disco images and music.

Other popular ad trends we’ve noticed this cycle: Daughters pitching for their fathers and the barn jacket fashion craze.

Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify American Action Network is a 501(c)(4) outside group.

  • nick10

    Ratcliffe the Rat.

  • Hitched

    The network of knowledge found closest in time and space to the choices at hand tends to be far more useful than data processed by distant government agents detached from local circumstances.

  • terjeanderson

    Compared to the data processed by distant sock puppets posting spam?

  • teapartyidiots

    Hey, look, 90 IS old. ; )

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