Congressman Howard Coble has made his first foray into Surry County politics a successful one, by being re-elected to another term with the help of local voters recently added to his Sixth District.
“I’m looking forward to representing Surry and Stokes and the new northern tier,” the Greensboro Republican said of his expanded district that resulted from boundaries being redrawn in the wake of the 2010 U.S. Census. Rep. Virginia Foxx no longer will serve local residents as a result.
While representing Surry County will be something new for him, Tuesday’s election proved to be business as usual for Coble — who was elected to his 15th-straight term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He did so by defeating Democrat Tony Foriest of Graham, a former member of the N.C. General Assembly.
Coble’s margin of victory in Surry was 18,751 votes to 9,656, or 66 to 34 percent of the ballots cast.
Overall, with vote totals in for the district’s 10 counties, his unofficial vote count stood at 219,915 to 140,942 for Foriest, or 61 to 39 percent of the total.
In each of his 15 congressional races, Coble, 81, has garnered at least 60 percent of the vote.
He credited his latest victory to an overall dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama.
“I think President Obama’s failure to deliver,” Coble said. “I think that more than anything else, the economy and the lack of jobs.”
The veteran congressman believes voter disappointment with the president’s performance caused a trickle-down effect for his and others’ races against Democratic candidates. “I’m a direct beneficiary of that.”
When Coble reacted Tuesday night to the result of his congressional race, the presidential battle had not been decided. But in expressing hopes for an eventual Mitt Romney victory, Coble said he was confident in Romney’s ability to revamp the nation.
“He has a solid record of building jobs.”
Meanwhile, Foriest, Coble’s Democratic opponent, was disappointed by his loss.
“The choices are clear — it looks like we won’t make it this time,” he said.
However, Foriest knew he was facing an uphill battle given the present makeup of the Sixth District.
“This particular district was drawn to be as conservative as they possibly could make it,” the Democratic challenger said of boundary changes implemented by the Republican-controlled state Legislature. “It has turned out to be what the General Assembly designed it to be in the first place.”
Taking that into account, Tuesday’s result in the Sixth District was not a surprise, Foriest said.
“Unfortunately, there can’t be but one winner,” he added. “We’ll just have to adjust ourselves and move forward.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.