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Coble planning for re-election, but leaves retirement door open

He's 82 and plagued with recent health problems, but Republican Congressman Howard Coble is keeping his re-election chances alive even as potential GOP replacements circle. At the same time, he's leaving the door cracked for a possible retirement.

From Travis Fain at the Greensboro News-Record: "U.S. Rep. Howard Coble hasn’t made a final decision about re-election, but he’s planning a fundraiser in September, keeping an eye on his health, and he’s “on course” to seek a 16th congressional term, Coble said Wednesday.

"Coble, a Greensboro Republican whose 6th District seat represents a large swath of the northern Piedmont, said he has recovered from the unexplained dizzy spells that caused him to be hospitalized earlier this year, and he hasn’t missed any recent meetings because of them. “Right now we’re on course for running again, even though I have not made a final decision,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Coble, who is 82 and first won his seat in 1984, said his health would be a primary factor in the final decision. But it’s “not the whole thing,” he said. “Keep in mind, of course, that I’ve been up here for three decades,” he said. “That needs to be weighed in as well ... so stay tuned.” More here.

Congressman McIntyre to get boost from national party in 2014

National Democrats are launching a plan today to save vulnerable incumbents like North Carolina's Mike McIntyre.

In a program dubbed "Frontline," the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will target 26 districts to help boost its lawmakers as part of a strategy to win the U.S. House in the 2014 elections. As described in a Politico report, the effort will give the incumbents advice on strategy, get-out-the-vote efforts and fundraising.

Hagan ranks in Senate's ideological middle; Ellmers among most conservative

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan ranks in the ideological middle, according to the latest rankings from the National Journal. The Democrat, who faces re-election in 2014, ranks the 48th most liberal of the 100 senators, or 52 most conservative, depending on how you look at it.

Her Republican counterpart U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is the 23rd most conservative member in the chamber, the nonpartisan national political magazine found. National Journal ranked the lawmakers on 116 votes that showed differences in ideological viewpoint in the 112th Congress.

Among Democrats in the House, Congressman David Price is the most liberal at No. 32, followed by Mel Watt (45), former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller (83), G.K. Butterfield (121). On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick was the 32nd most conservative, followed by Reps. Renee Ellmers (43), Virginia Foxx (55), Patrick McHenry (62), Howard Coble (153) and Walter Jones (242).

Congresswoman Foxx 'chews out' staffer for riding members-only elevator

North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx "chewed out" a House staffer for riding on an elevator reserved for lawmakers, according to The Hill, though Foxx's office is disputing the story.

It apparently happened Tuesday when the elevators at the Longworth House Office Building were clogged. A staffer and the publication's tipster stepped into the members-only elevator; Foxx and an aide stepped in on the next floor.

From The Hill: "The lawmaker, who was recently elected to a House GOP leadership post, asked for whom the pair worked. Then she turned to the female staffer, who had no clue she was on board what was soon to be the elevator ride of doom.

Foxx said to the staffer, “This is a ‘members-only’ elevator; can you read?” She then demanded the staffer’s name before the elevator stopped after going just one more floor up. “Get out here,” Foxx supposedly commanded.

Morning Roundup: How can Congress move forward?

How can a Congress with such wide political differences move forward together for the good of the nation? That’s the question the inaugural Solving It Together forum, presented by The Charlotte Observer and PNC Bank, will tackle.

Former N.C. Gov. Jim Martin, former U.S. Rep. John Spratt  and Congressmen Mel Watt, Patrick McHenry and Mick Mulvaney will participate. More details here.

More political headlines:

--The state Attorney General put on its public case Tuesday charging that a 7.2 percent rate increase approved for Duke Energy should be thrown out on the grounds that it’s causing a public hardship in the midst of a prolonged economic downturn.

McIntyre says he's returning to work amid recount

Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre said Sunday he would return to Washington this week even as a recount looms in his re-election.

McIntyre finished 507 votes ahead of Republican David Rouzer in one of the most expensive congressional races in the nation.

His campaign manager said McIntyre would travel to the nation's capital Tuesday for his congressional duties."His commitment to the citizens and communities he represents is strong and solid," Lachlan McIntosh said in a statement. "We have a large team in place all over the 7th District as county Boards of Elections continue to review the provisional and absentee ballots.  We are confident our lead will continue and potentially grow -- and that our victory will stand.”

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