In 2006, Democrat Bruce Braley — a lawyer from Waterloo — won a first term in congress representing Iowa’s first district. The 12-county district runs from the Quad Cities and Clinton up to Dubuque, then over to Independence, Waterloo and Waverly.
In 2006, Braley won the district by nearly 12 percentage points over Republican Mike Whalen. James Q. Lynch, the chief political reporter for The Cedar Rapids Gazette, sees little chance Republican candidate Dave Hartsuch will defeat Braley’s re-election bid. "It’s not much of a race at this point," Lynch says.
Hartsuch, who’s in the middle of his first term as a state senator, worked as an emergency room doctor in the Quad Cities and he’s a certified public accountant, too. Hartsuch hasn’t raised much money for his race and has complained about a lack of support from the Republican Party of Iowa.
"Many of the Democrats know where my opponent stands, but I don’t think many of the rank-and-file of the regular citizenry really understands what Bruce Braley is. They look at him and they say, ‘Well, he’s a nice guy. He smiles,’" Hartsuch said during a speech to Iowans who attended the Republican National Convention in Minnesota.
"In truth, Bruce Braley has kind of been taking a bunch of issues and putting them out there in front of the public to kind of what I would call entertain the public." Hartsuch cites Braley’s backing of a bill that would require that all American flags be made in the U.S.
In his first term, Braley has touted legislation to require that government documents be written in "plain English" and Braley pestered the Pentagon to give full education benefits to returning Iowa National Guard troops who served longer in Iraq than any other unit in the military.
"I certainly hope that the work that I’ve done in the first district has given people that I represent confidence that I’m genuinely interested in improving their lives and I’m going things in Washington to make that happen," Braley said this past spring.