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John Ratcliffe (American politician)

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John Ratcliffe (American politician)

John Ratcliffe
Member-elect of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 4th district
Taking office
January 3, 2015
Succeeding Ralph Hall
U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Texas
In office
February 2007 – July 2008
Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas
In office
Mayor of Heath, Texas
In office
May 2004 – May 2012
Personal details
Born John Lee Ratcliffe[1]
(1965-10-20) October 20, 1965
Political party Republican
Residence Heath, Texas
Occupation Attorney

John Lee Ratcliffe (born October 20, 1965) is an American politician who is the Congressman-elect for Texas's 4th congressional district. He defeated incumbent United States Representative Ralph Hall, who was the oldest member of congress at the time, in the runoff primary election on May 27, 2014. Ratcliffe was unopposed in the November 4, 2014 general election and will be sworn in as a member of the 114th United States Congress in January, 2015.

Early life, education, and early career

Ratcliffe was born the youngest of six children. Both of his parents were teachers.[2] In 1987, Ratcliffe graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Government and International Studies. He earned his J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1989.[3]

He is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has served as Adjunct Professor of Law at various law schools, including SMU and Texas Wesleyan University. Between 2004-2010, he was elected to four consecutive terms as mayor of Heath, Texas.[4]

Bush administration

In 2004, Republican President U.S. Department of Justice. In 2007, he was appointed United States Attorney of the Eastern District of Texas. It covered 33,000 square miles, including almost all of the 4th Congressional District. He managed 100 federal prosecutors, 6 district offices, and a $12 million budget allocated by the DOJ. On April 16, 2008, “Operation Plymouth Rock” led to the successful prosecution of hundreds of illegal aliens who unlawfully gained employment, which resulted in a $4.5 million criminal penalty.[3] Following his public service, he went back into private law practice, becoming a partner with the The Ashcroft Law Firm, LLC. He served as an aide to Mitt Romney as part of a transition team established before the 2012 elections for vetting potential government appointees.[5]

2014 congressional election

Ratcliffe decided to run in the Republican primary against 17-term incumbent Congressman Ralph Hall of Texas's 4th congressional district. At 91 years old, Hall was the oldest member of Congress and the oldest person ever to serve in the House of Representatives. The Dallas Morning News wrote that Ratcliffe was Hall's "most serious political challenge in years."[6] In a primary where Hall had begun to look increasingly vulnerable, Ratcliffe received the endorsement of the Dallas Morning News which applauded Hall's long record of public service but cited Ratcliffe's "impressive credentials" and the need for "new ideas and fresh energy."[7]

In the March 4 primary, Ratcliffe finished second with 29 percent of the vote, behind Hall's 45 percent. However, since Hall came up short of a majority, a runoff was forced on May 27. Ratcliffe was subsequently endorsed by the Tea Party Express, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and Club For Growth. Hall was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, former Congressman Ron Paul, congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.[8]

In the May 27 runoff, Ratcliffe defeated Hall with 53 percent of the vote to Hall's 47 percent. Ratcliffe won 11 of the district's 18 counties, including the four largest (Grayson, Rockwall, Hunt and Lamar).

Although it is very rare in any event for a primary challenger to defeat a sitting congressman, Ratcliffe's victory was historic as it marked the first time that a sitting Republican congressman in Texas had been ousted in a primary. Incumbents had previously been successful in all 257 attempts.[9] Hall's defeat was also the first by an incumbent member of Congress in the 2014 election cycle. Ratcliffe was unopposed in the November 4th general election and will be sworn in as a member of the 114th United States Congress in January, 2015. He will be just the fifth person to represent the district since its formation in 1903.


Ratcliffe and his wife, Michele, reside in Heath, Texas, with their two daughters.


  1. ^ State Bar of Texas
  2. ^ "John’s Story". Ratcliffe for Congress. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "John Ratcliffe". LinkedIn. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ "John Ratcliffe". The Ashcroft Group. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (May 27, 2014). "Rep. Ralph Hall defeated by John Ratcliffe". Washington Post. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ Gillman, Todd (December 9, 2013). "Ex-US Attorney John Ratcliffe files against Ralph Hall". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Editorial: We recommend Ratcliffe in the 4th Congressional District’s GOP primary". Dallas Morning News. 2014-01-22. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  8. ^ DelReal, Jose (May 27, 2014). "Ralph Hall loses Texas GOP runoff". Politico. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  9. ^ Kecseg, Ross (May 29, 2014). "Ralph Hall Makes History…Will Texans Take Notice?". Empower Texans. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 

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