Washington (CNN) – Ninety-one-year-old Ralph Hall may have lost his primary on Tuesday - the first incumbent defeated this year - but the Texas Republican was greeted with a standing ovation by his House GOP colleagues Thursday morning and cracked jokes about his political future.
A smiling Hall, who lost to tea party-backed candidate John Ratcliffe, told reporters after a closed-door meeting: "I figured it out – damn guy got more votes than I did!"
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Asked about his plans now that his more than three-decade career in Congress is coming to an end, Hall said, "I went to the employment office this morning and they didn't offer me anything, but I got a job here until December 31st."
"At 91-years-old a contract for six months – you can't beat it," he added, referring to the rest of his term in the House.
Hall, the oldest sitting member of Congress, said he talked about his age at the weekly meeting with his GOP colleagues.
"I told them I was leaving because I heard Howard Coble was leaving and that would really make me the oldest guy," he said. North Carolina GOP Rep. Coble, who announced last fall he wouldn't run for another term, is 82 - almost a decade younger than Hall.
On his election loss, Hall then admitted: "I was disappointed, I was just outspent."
"I've heard money isn't everything but it sure keeps you in touch with your kids," Hall said, adding, "and by God it keeps you in touch with voters, too. And this guy had plenty of money, and he wasn't a bad candidate."
With Hall's defeat, and with longtime Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan retiring, Congress is losing its last two veterans of World War II.