Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) to retire

November 7, 2013

Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) announced Thursday that he will not seek reelection in 2014.

Coble, 82, represents a safe Republican district based in Greensboro -- a district he has served since 1985. 

Coble was a practicing attorney and a state House member before being elected to Congress. Since winning reelection the first time, he has never taken less than 67 percent of the vote.

His retirement is likely to lead to a crowded GOP primary field. Among those being mentioned are Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger, Jr., the son of state Senate President Phil Berger, as well as NASCAR driver Terry Labonte and Michael Steel, a lead spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who is from Durham.

Asked about the seat, Steel told Post Politics: "I have no plans to run."

Coble's retirement comes a day after another Republican, Rep. Jon Runyan (N.J.), announced his retirement after just two terms.

Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) also recently announced his retirement after two terms.

Coble is the fifth House Republican to announce his retirement. Three others resigned, and longtime Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) recently died.

No Democrats have thus far announced their retirements.

Correction: This post initially said Phil Berger Sr. could run for the seat, rather than Phil Berger Jr.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · November 7, 2013