Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo says Democratic Party leaders should let the nomination fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last until one of them drops out — or until the fight’s resolved at the party’s convention in late August. "I think that the reason you have a convention, even though this has been rarely true in modern times, is to nominate your candidate," Braley says. "My preference is we let the system play out and we go to Denver (the site of the Democratic National Convention). If it hasn’t been resolved, then it gets taken care of there."
Other party leaders suggest the battle should be settled by July 1 and while Braley admits the hostilities between the Obama and Clinton camps may soon reach a "tipping point," he is reluctant to have party leaders step in and force someone to drop out. "Listen, I went through a very contentious primary election myself and I worked very hard after I won my primary to build relationships with people who supported my opponents and with my opponents and I consider them my friends and people who have been very helpful to me," Braley says. "I think that’s what’s going to happen after Denver." The 2008 Democratic National Convention will be held during the last week of August.
Braley, as a member of congress, is one of the "super delegates" to the Convention. Braley backed John Edwards in the January 3rd Iowa Caucuses, but is currently neutral. "This has been an exciting year for Democrats because in state after state we’ve seen record turnouts of Democrats participating in the caucus and primary process, so what I’m doing is continuing to assess the situation. We recently had our county conventions in Iowa and I looked very closely at what happened in my district," Braley says. "That is one of the significant factors that I’m looking at." Braley says he’s also evaluating which candidate will be the best "top of the ticket" for other Democrats on down the ballot.
A group of Clinton donors wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week. The group vowed to withhold contributions from congressional candidates like Braley if Pelosi didn’t backtrack from her public statement that super delegates should follow the will of the people. "I’m very disturbed…when people use the specter of money as a leverage device to try to influence how you might choose to support a candidate," Braley says. "I think that has no place in politics."
In addition, it does not appear Braley will follow the lead of his former presidential pick, John Edwards. "John Edwards is not going to be one of the two candidates we’re choosing from at the convention in Denver," Braley says. "I’ve had conversations with Senator Edwards since the Caucuses….he’s kept his own counsel on who, if anyone, he’s planning to endorse."
Braley expects his party to rewrite its rules for the next campaign in 2012 and he predicts the idea of so-called "super delegates" helping decide the party’s nominee will be abandoned.
Braley, a first-term congressman, made his comments during taping of "Iowa Press" which airs this evening at 7:30 on Iowa Public Television.