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Howard Coble

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Title: Howard Coble  
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Subject: United States House of Representatives elections in North Carolina, 2008, North Carolina's 6th congressional district, United States House Committee on the Judiciary, United States House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, United States House of Representatives elections, 2014
Collection: 1931 Births, American Presbyterians, Guilford College Alumni, Living People, Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from North Carolina, North Carolina Lawyers, North Carolina Republicans, People from Greensboro, North Carolina, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, State Cabinet Secretaries of North Carolina, Tea Party Movement Activists, United States Coast Guard Personnel, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Alumni
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Howard Coble

Howard Coble
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Robin Britt
Succeeded by Mark Walker
Personal details
Born (1931-03-18) March 18, 1931
Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Appalachian State University
Guilford College
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Religion Presbyterianism
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service 1952–1956
1960–1982 (USCGR)[1]
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Korean War

John Howard Coble (born March 18, 1931) is a former U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 6th congressional district, serving from 1985 to 2015. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes all or portions of ten counties in the northern-central part of the state, including portions of Greensboro and Durham.


  • Early life, education, and pre-political career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
    • Legislation sponsored 2.3
    • Committee assignments 2.4
    • Caucus memberships 2.5
  • Personal life 3
  • Electoral history 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life, education, and pre-political career

Coble was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. After high school, he initially attended Appalachian State University, but after a year joined the United States Coast Guard, serving for over 5 years and staying on as a reservist for an additional 18 years. Upon discharging from military service, he attended Guilford College, from which he received a history degree. He is a member of the Epsilon Iota Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Coble then moved on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a degree in law.

After graduating from college, Coble first worked as an insurance agent. He then spent nearly 20 years as a practicing attorney, and he was also Secretary of Revenue under North Carolina Governor James Holshouser. In 1979, Coble was elected to the state House of Representatives, serving until his election to Congress.

U.S. House of Representatives

Coble in 2007


Coble was first elected to Congress in 1984, narrowly defeating Walter Cockerham in the primary 51%–49%.[2] In the general election, he defeated one-term Democratic incumbent Robin Britt 51%–49%.[3] Coble was likely the beneficiary of long coattails from Ronald Reagan, who carried the district by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. In 1986, he defeated Britt in a rematch, which was an even closer 50.03%–49.97% and Coble won by only 79 votes (closest margin of victory that year). Since then, he has never won re-election with less than 61% of the vote.[4] In July 2008, Coble won the Republican primary unopposed and became North Carolina's longest-serving Republican U.S. congressman, surpassing former U.S. Congressman Jim Broyhill (who was also elected to 12 terms but left the House in July 1986 to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat). Coble announced in 2013 that he would not run for another term in 2014, and would retire after 30 years in Congress.[5]


In the 105th United States Congress Coble moved to suspend the rules and pass the NET Act on November 4, 1997, which removed the requirement of financial gain for criminal prosecution of copyright violation.[6] NET Act was passed only after the House suspended the rules.[7]

Coble is a strong supporter of agriculture and has voted in favor of bills to protect agriculture. Coble opposes further regulation of tobacco because he believes it will hurt North Carolina tobacco planters.

Coble takes a hard-line position on illegal drugs, and co-sponsored a resolution to oppose the legalization and use of medical marijuana.[8] He also voted for an amendment to authorize drug testing on federal employees.[9] However, he authored a resolution to celebrate the passage of Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the United States.[10] Coble is also a member of the Tea Party Caucus, joining Sue Myrick and Walter B. Jones as the sole members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation to join the group.

Coble has pledged not to receive any pension from the United States government. He told CBS Up to the Minute, "I figured taxpayers pay my salary – not a bad salary, and I figure that's sufficient. Let me fend for myself after the salary's collected." He also stated to CBS, "I've pledged my assurance I won't take the pension. That's between my constituents and me. As far as convicted felons, I guess that's between their constituents and themselves." He is one of two Congressmen, with Ron Paul, to have pledged to decline his pension.[11]

However, during the government shutdown in October 2013. Coble said that although 800,000 federal workers are furloughed and not receiving a paycheck, he will still collect his salary due to a requirement of law.[12] Coble was one of the 87 Republicans who voted for the bill to end the shutdown on October 16.[13]

In June 2013, Coble announced introduction of new legislation to reform the congressional pension program. Coble has refused to participate in the current congressional pension program, stating that reforming congressional pensions is long overdue and that the bill would lengthen the time of service required before a member would be eligible for participation in the pension program.[14]

Legislation sponsored

The bill To extend the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 for 10 years (H.R. 3626; 113th Congress) was introduced in the House on December 2, 2013 by Coble.[15] The bill would extend the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 for an additional 10 years, but not expand any of its provisions (related to plastic guns).[16] The bill passed the House on December 3, 2013.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Coble is a member of the Guilford College Board of Visitors and of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Board of Visitors.

He is a Freemason and member of Guilford Lodge number 656 in Greensboro.[17]

Electoral history

North Carolina's 6th congressional district: Results 1984–2012[18][19][20]
Year Republican Votes % Democratic Votes % Third Party Party Votes % Third Party Party Votes %
1984 Howard Coble 102,925 51% Robin Britt 100,263 49%
1986 Howard Coble 72,329 50% Robin Britt 72,250 50%
1988 Howard Coble 116,534 62% Tom Gilmore 70,008 38%
1990 Howard Coble 125,392 67% Helen Allegrone 62,913 33%
1992 Howard Coble 162,822 71% Robin Hood 67,200 29%
1994 Howard Coble 98,355 100% No candidate
1996 Howard Coble 167,828 73% Mark Costley 58,022 25% Gary Goodson Libertarian 2,693 1%
1998 Howard Coble 112,740 89% No candidate Jeffrey Bentley Libertarian 14,454 11%
2000 Howard Coble 195,727 91% No candidate Jeffrey Bentley Libertarian 18,726 9%
2002 Howard Coble 151,430 90% No candidate Tara Grubb Libertarian 16,067 10%
2004 Howard Coble 207,470 73% William Jordan 76,153 27%
2006 Howard Coble 108,433 71% Rory Blake 44,661 29%
2008 Howard Coble 221,008 67% Teresa Bratton 108,873 33%
2010 Howard Coble 156,252 75% Sam Turner 51,507 25%
2012 Howard Coble 222,116 61% Tony Foriest 142,467 39% Hugh Chauvin Libertarian 4,847 2% Brandon Parmer Green 2,017 1%


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External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robin Britt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Mark Walker
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