GREENSBORO, N.C. -- This is the first time in three decades Howard Coble's name is not on the ballot.
"Very weird. I've done it for 30 years and now it just seems like my gosh have I missed the boat. Has the boat left the dock?" explains Representative Howard Coble.
Congressman Coble has served 15 terms representing the 6th District. He announced back in November that he would be retiring, days later the hopeful candidates started filing.
"The dominoes kept falling. I had no idea there would be that many. I figured probably four or five," Coble said.
There are nine republicans fighting for Coble's seat: Mark Walker, Don Webb, Bruce VonCannon, Charlie Sutherland, Jeff Phillips, Zack Matheny, Kenn Kopf, Mike Causey, and Phil Berger Jr.
"I've met each one of the republicans and I have not seen a bad guy yet," Coble said.
But the nasty campaign ads are often part of politics.
"Republicans beating up on republicans, democrats beating up on democrats. Hopefully we can bury that at the conclusion of the primary season and concentrate on the general election upcoming,"Coble said.
Coble has done the job for 30 years and has some advice to the next congressman, "I think constituents continue to demand their elected officials to be accessible and I think they are justified in making that demand."
Howard Coble has already made political history, but what does he have planned for all the free time in his future?
"I'll get back to you on that," Coble said.