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Representative Coble of North Carolina will not run again in 2014

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Howard Coble, North Carolina's longest serving Republican in the House of Representatives, said on Thursday that he will not seek re-election next year.

His retirement announcement closely follows those of two other House Republicans, Tim Griffin of Arkansas and Jon Runyan of New Jersey, who have said in recent weeks they would not run in 2014.

Coble, 82, was first elected to the U.S. House in 1984 and represents the state's Republican-leaning 6th District. He said he has been plagued by back pain and skin cancer, and decided not to run due to his physical limitations.

"Mentally and emotionally, I am stable and reliable," he said at a news conference in Greensboro. But, he added, "It's time for me to step aside."

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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