Former banker Bruce VonCannon announced Wednesday that he will seek the GOP nomination for North Carolina's 6th District, becoming the sixth Republican to enter the crowded race.
VonCannon joins Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., Greensboro City Council member Zack Matheny, Baptist pastors Dan Collison and Bradley Walker, and navy veteran Don Webb in the contest. All six are looking to replace Rep. Howard Coble, the 15-term Republican who announced his retirement this fall.
Local GOP operatives say Berger is the front-runner in the race. As the son of the state Senate president pro tem, Berger boasts connections and the name identification to run a smooth campaign.
Republican operatives noted that VonCannon, who recently served as an overseas banker and moved back to North Carolina in retirement, will likely be able to self-fund his campaign, potentially making the race tougher for Berger.
On the Democratic side, former University of North Carolina general counsel Laura Fjeld is running for the seat.
The 6th District is reliable conservative territory. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district with 58 percent in 2012.
North Carolina's 6th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.