Retiring Rep. Howard CobleJohn Howard CobleNC delegation pays tribute to late former Rep. Coble Former NC Rep. Howard Coble dead at 84 Lawmakers pay tribute to Howard Coble MORE (R-N.C.) has endorsed Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. (R) in his campaign to succeed Coble, giving Berger a boost ahead of his primary runoff.

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"It's clear to me that Phil Berger is the right conservative for the job. He has the experience, knowledge and determination to hit the ground running in Washington," Coble said. "He's a solid, proven conservative with the kind of values and energy we need to keep North Carolina on the right track. I'm pleased and proud to offer my endorsement to Phil Berger."

Berger finished in first place in North Carolina's early May primary, falling just short of the 40 percent he needed to avoid a runoff in the crowded field. He is the favorite against Rev. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerGOP leaders jockey for affection of House conservatives Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Senators seek data on tax law's impact on charitable giving MORE (R) in the runoff. Coble's endorsement after three decades holding the seat could further boost Berger.

The winner is a heavy favorite in the general election, as the district is strongly Republican.