Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo has endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Braley is one of the "super delegates" who may play a key role in deciding who wins the party’s nomination. 

"I had a chance to go to my first district convention in Dubuque on Saturday and that was the number one question on everybody’s mind: ‘When are you going to endorse? Who are you going to endorse?’ and after looking at the numbers from both district convention, the county conventions and the Caucuses in my district; talking to many, many people about the candidates left in the race and looking at the longterm impact on our party I decided that Senator Obama was the right person to endorse," Braley says.

Braley says his endorsement is "in no way" any kind of signal to the Clinton campaign. "It’s simply to send a message to the voters of my district that I have given this a lot of consideration and after weighing all of the factors, I’ve decided that Senator Obama is the person that I want to endorse," Braley says.

Braley endorsed John Edwards before the Iowa Caucuses and this spring Edwards organizers had asked supporters to "keep their powder dry" and remain uncommitted rather than jump on the Obama or Clinton bandwagons.  "Senator Edwards dropped out of the race and I had a very good conversation with him after he decided to do that. I have left voice mails for him trying to get input from him on what his thinking was on the remaining two candidates and have heard nothing back from him," Braley says. "I am my own person. I’ve got my own responsibilities to the people who elected me and it’s come down to a choice between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton and after giving it a great deal of consideration, I’ve decided to endorse Senator Obama."

Braley is in his first term in congress, seeking reelection this fall, and Braley says he’s concerned about the tone of the ongoing battle between Obama and Clinton. "I’m worried about the fact that the campaign seems to be diverting from focusing on a lot of the real issues that voters care about, like health care and rising fuel prices and the war in Iraq and tends to be focusing on a lot of gotcha things," Braley says. "So I’m hopeful that as we go forward we’re going to have more and more clarity on who the nominee is going to be and we can get back to focusing on the very real differences between our Democratic nominee and John McCain."

McCain will campaign in Iowa tomorrow, his first stop in the state since finishing fourth in the Iowa Caucuses.

In December, Congressman Leonard Boswell of Des Moines endorsed Hillary Clinton and Congressman Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon endorsed Barack Obama. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, also a super delegate to the Democratic National Convention, has said he is neutral. Harkin’s his wife, Ruth, endorsed Clinton last July and campaigned around Iowa with the New York Senator. Iowa’s other U.S. senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, did not endorse a candidate before the Iowa Caucuses. In late December, Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, endorsed Fred Thompson. Iowa’s other congressman, Republican Tom Latham of Ames, did not endorse a candidate before the Caucuses.


AUDIO: Braley endorses Obama (mp3 runs 2 min 14 sec)