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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Retiring U.S. Rep. Howard Coble has endorsed Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. in the Republican primary runoff to fill Coble's seat in North Carolina's Sixth Congressional District.

Coble said Thursday that Berger is the "right conservative for the job" who has "the experience, knowledge and determination" to quickly be effective in Washington.

Berger faces Baptist minister Mark Walker in the July runoff. Berger is the son of the powerful state Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican from Eden.

The winner of the GOP primary faces Democrat Laura Fjeld, a retired University of North Carolina system administrator. The makeup of the district, redrawn in a legislative process the Sen. Berger helped oversee, gives a strong advantage to the Republican candidate.

Coble is retiring after 30 years in office.

Laura Fjeld's Campaign Manager, Andrew Grunwald, issued the following statement in response to Coble's endorsement of Berger Thursday:

"Congressman Howard Coble is known for serving all of his constituents, regardless of their party or status in the community. That's why he was so successful and well-loved by many. Unlike Coble, Phil Berger Jr. is extreme and marches to the drumbeat of the special interests and powerful party bosses. Laura will represent everyone in this community and always put North Carolina families first."

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