One new congressman, or two?
Many High Point voters likely are assured that they’ll lose one veteran congressman who represents them — whether they will lose the other one remains unclear.
Rep. Mel Watt, D-12th, was nominated this past Monday by President Barack Obama to serve as the new leader of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
If Watt is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would leave the congressional seat that he’s held for 20 years. A special election would be held later this year to fill the 12th District seat. The winner of the special election would serve through the November 2014 general election in the district that stretches from Charlotte through the central Piedmont to the Triad.
If Watt isn’t confirmed by the Senate, he would make a decision in December or January about whether to seek another term in the 12th District next year, said a spokesman for the congressman.
Meanwhile, Rep. Howard Coble, R-6th, still hasn’t determined whether he’ll seek a 16th term. Coble has battled a series of health problems that have landed him in hospitals during the past three years, though he tells The High Point Enterprise that he’s in generally good health now.
“I’m 82 now. I’ve not made up my mind — I’m not ruling either one out,” Coble said when asked about whether he’ll seek re-election. “It’s a fair question. But no one’s holding a stop watch on me.”
Coble would have to make a decision by February of next year, when the candidate filing period begins for the 2014 election season. Coble said that he doesn’t have a set date or period to make a decision about seeking another term prior to the start of the filing period early next year.
Coble and Watt represent most of High Point in Congress, since their districts separately cover sections of the city in Guilford County.
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The two congressmen who represent the vast majority of High Point are among the representatives with the most seniority in the state’s delegation. Rep. Howard Coble, R-6th, has the most service of any of the 13 U.S. representatives and two senators, serving in his 15th term. Rep. Mel Watt, D-12th, has the third-most seniority in his 11th term. Rep. David Price, D-4th, is second in seniority in his 13th term.
Source: National Mining Association congressional directory