Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo is going to run for the U.S. Senate.
“I am going to be filing papers today to make clear that I am starting the process to become a candidate for the United States Senate from the state of Iowa,” Braley told Radio Iowa this morning.
Seventy-three-year-old Senator Tom Harkin announced in late January he would not seek reelection in 2014. Braley, who is 55, first won a seat in the U.S. House in 2006 and his name quickly emerged as a leading Democratic contender for the seat.
“There hasn’t been an open senate race in Iowa since 1974,” Braley said. “That means there’s going to be a lot of people who have an interest in the outcome of this race and I’m sure it will rapidly become one of the top senate races in the country.”
Since Braley signalled he was considering a run for the senate in late January, no other Democrat has stepped forward publicly to say they’re mulling a bid for the senate, too. Braley told Radio Iowa he is “hopeful” he will not face a primary.
“I’m a life-long resident of the state of Iowa and, as my staff will tell you, I talk about Iowa all the time and the greatness of the state,” Braley said, “so I’m very excited about beginning that process and having the conversation with Iowans about what they expect in their next senator.”
Harkin said in January that he would not endorse a successor. During his conversation with Radio Iowa this morning, Braley avoided a question about what advice Harkin has given him about the 2014 race, but gave this answer instead: “I’ve gotten a lot of advice from Senator Harkin over the years. I’ve made it very clear that no one will ever fill his shoes, but I want to make sure that when he walks out of the senate chamber for the last time, there’s someone like him — a progressive, populist Democrat who cares about the middle class and will fight for the people of Iowa — walking in.”
Braley issued a written statement today announcing his decision and he granted an interview to Radio Iowa.
Braley won a narrow victory in his 2010 reelection bid. In 2012, Braley won by the largest margin of any Iowa congressman. Two other Iowa congressmen, Republicans Tom Latham and Steve King, are mulling a race for the senate, too.
AUDIO of Braley’s interview (runs 4 minutes)