GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) — The race to succeed the longest-serving Republican U.S. House member in North Carolina history is starting to take shape as Howard Coble prepares to step down after 15 terms in Congress at the end of 2014.

A fifth announced candidate entered the race this past week — the son of state Senate leader Phil Berger. At least two others are considering getting in.

The other four threw their hats into the ring before Coble made public his plans earlier in November. That's not surprising given Coble faced several primary opponents in 2010 and 2012, and the 82-year-old has had health problems.

Phil Berger Jr. could have an early advantage in the Republican primary because he's the Rockingham County district attorney and his father is very influential GOP circles.