Another Republican may get in race to replace Coble

Dec. 18, 2013 @ 04:30 PM

Longtime state Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, who represents parts of High Point in the N.C. General Assembly, will announce tomorrow afternoon whether he’ll join the crowded Republican field to succeed U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, R-6th.

Blust, a seven-term state representative and former state senator, said this afternoon that he will announce Thursday whether he’ll run for the 6th Congressional District or seek re-election to his 62nd State House District. The announcement will take place at the Guilford County Republican Party headquarters in western Greensboro.
Blust now serves in a state legislative district that covers parts of western Guilford County and northern sections of High Point. Blust, who’s from Greensboro, served one term in the state Senate from 1996-97, then was elected to the state House in 2000 and has served since that time.
If he decides to run for Congress, Blust would become the sixth announced Republican candidate seeking to succeed Coble, who announced last month he will retire after next year for health reasons at the age of 82. Political analysts say the 6th District leans conservative, meaning the winner of the 6th District Republican primary on May 6 would have the inside track in next November’s general election. Other GOP 6th District candidates include Don Webb of High Point, a U.S. Navy veteran and immediate past chairman of the High Point Republican Party.
Blust faces a decision-making dilemma that area state legislators from both parties will confront between now and February, when the candidate filing period takes place for next year’s elections.
By statute, a candidate can’t file for more than one general election race in the same year. That means state legislators who want to run in the 6th District to succeed Coble or the 12th District to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Mel Watt will have to choose whether to give up their General Assembly seats to run for Congress.
Watt is leaving Congress to become the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the administration of President Barack Obama after Watt was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week. The 12th District is considered a safe one for a Democratic candidate.
In many cases, state legislators who are considering a run for the 6th or 12th District would leave legislative seats that are safe ones for themselves and their party. But that also potentially will open up a slate of state legislative races next year as contests for open seats.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528