Former Rep. Ralph Hall, a Texas Republican best known for switching parties near the end of his 17-term career from 1981 to 2015, died Thursday at the age of 95 at his home in Rockwall, Texas.
Hall’s change of party allegiance in 2004 was met with little surprise from his Capitol Hill colleagues, as he had always been one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.
Hall served as a longtime member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and eventually left the panel to become the chairman of the House Science Committee in 2010, when Republicans gained a majority in the lower chamber. At the time Hall first became the chairman, he was the oldest serving member of Congress at the age of 87.
While still a Democrat, Hall even endorsed George W. Bush, a fellow Texan, for the presidency in 2000. After Bush won the election, reports surfaced that the new administration was seriously considering Hall for the post of Energy Secretary.
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