Bruce Braley of Waterloo, a first-term Democrat in congress, is endorsing John Edwards’ bid for the White House. "I was a very strong supporter of Senator Edwards in 2004. I’ve known him for a long time," Braley said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. "…One of the deciding factors for me is that John Edwards is the only candidate who grew up in rural America…I thought that his voice and his ability to communicate with the people of Iowa was a very strong asset."
Both men were trial lawyers before entering politics, but Braley said their shared trade had nothing to do with his endorsement decision. "My decision to support John Edwards in 2004 had more to do with his campaign based upon ‘Two Americas’ and what we needed to do to move towards ‘One America,’" Braley said. "It’s those same policies that he has articulated is what made me decide that I’m going to support him in 2008."
Braley will campaign with Edwards in Iowa, when possible, but Braley won’t offer an estimate of the value of his endorsement. "All I’ve assured Senator Edwards is that he will have one very vocal supporter in Ward 5, Precinct 5 in Waterloo on January 3rd," Braley said.
Senator Tom Harkin endorsed Howard Dean just before the 2004 Caucuses and Harkin said earlier this year that he won’t endorse someone this time around because Iowans are independent-minded and don’t give much consideration to who has been endorsed by whom.
Congressman Leonard Bowell, a Democrat from Des Moines, has indicated he will not be endorsing a candidate, but Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, is "open" to the idea according to his spokeswoman and will decide in the next few weeks whether to make public his personal choice in the presidential race. Republican Congressmen Steve King of Kiron is considering making an endorsement before Christmas. No word yet on whether Iowa’s other congressman, Tom Latham — a Republican from Ames, will offer a public endorsement.
Republican Senator Charles Grassley has said he won’t be endorsing a candidate in advance of the Caucuses either. Grassley backed both of Bob Dole’s Caucus campaigns. Dole won Iowa’s Caucuses in 1988 and 1996.