1-2-04 - Local Congressman Ralph Hall switched parties tonight. The conservative Democrat filed for re-election as a Republican for district 6. The 80-year-old from Rockwall was first elected to the House in
His switch marks the first fallout from a GOP led drive to remake Texas' congressional districts to their liking. Hall's defection has historic overtones. His district in Texas includes territory once represented in Congress by the late Sam Rayburn, who served as a Democratic speaker many of the years between 1940 and 1961.
Hall says he's always said he'd switch parties or resign if being a Democrat hurt his district. He says that happened when GOP leaders recently refused to place money for his district in a spending bill. He says the only reason they gave him for the refusal was that he was a Democrat.
Hall told First News tonight that his parties treatment and lack of respect for President Bush was also a major reason. He still doesn't know what counties District 6 will be made up of, due to the current court battle over the redistricting plan.