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Some great news this morning!

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.  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.” - Radio Iowa, 2/7/13

This is great news because PPP showed Braley to be our strongest contender for this race:

The most likely Democratic candidate, Bruce Braley, would start out 11 points ahead of King at 49/38. The three other Democrats we looked at lead King by substantial margins as well- Tom Vilsack would lead King 49/39, Chet Culver would lead 48/41, and Dave Loebsack would lead 47/40.

In addition to Braley's 11 point lead over King, he has advantages of 44/41 over Latham, 44/37 over Reynolds, and 51/33 over Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats trails by at least 14 points against every Democrat we tested- it's clear that if he somehow snagged the nomination it would be a disaster for Republicans. - PPP, 2/5/13

Of course local Democratic strategists are thrilled about Braley's decision to succeed Harkin in the U.S. Senate:

Jeff Link, a Democratic strategist from Des Moines told the Register this morning he thinks Braley can win for a few reasons.

“He has experience on the issues and a strong record of accomplishment. His perspective has been shaped by growing up in a small town in a middle class family and raising a family a contributing to his community. And finally, he is smart and will worker harder than any candidate in the race,” Link said.

Braley will run to “build on a legacy of putting middle class Iowans first,” Link said. “He has been able to get things done in the house, but he believes he can do more for the state as Iowa’s senator.”

Braley, a Waterloo attorney who grew up in Brooklyn, Ia., has a reputation for being smart, ambitious and ready for higher office, Democratic insiders have said. In November 2012, he earned the most votes of any U.S. House candidate in Iowa in November 2012, when he was re-elected to represent the 1st Congressional District, which encompasses 20 counties in the state’s northeast corner. After he was first elected in 2006, he was the first freshman in decades to chair a U.S. House subcommittee. He is seen as a strong fundraiser who beat back a tough challenge in 2010 when independent Republican groups threw more than $1 million in TV advertising against him. - Des Moines Register, 2/7/13

Braley sent out an email to his supporters today and he has already set up a website and Facebook page for his campaign:
I want you to be the first to know.

It’s a big responsibility to represent the people of Iowa in the United States Senate, especially after Tom Harkin has shown us how for the last 30 years. But, if you are willing to help me, I’m ready to go.

That’s why today, I’m setting up a committee to run for the U.S. Senate.

Click here to let your family and friends know about the important first steps of this campaign.

Just as Sen Harkin did when he first ran, I’ll need to meet a lot of Iowans outside of my district. I’ll pledge to them, just like the people of Eastern Iowa that I will listen, work hard, and get things done for Iowa’s middle class.

It’s time to start a conversation with Iowans – about rebuilding the middle class, creating economic opportunity for everyone, and keeping America strong. I’m looking forward to the conversation and I’m looking forward to meeting with you. We will kick off the conversations with a Facebook chat in the next few weeks.

And, like today, you’ll be the first to know when those will happen.

See you soon,


I wrote about Braley last week:

Braley founded the House Populist Caucus which is aimed at helping middle-class families:

The middle class is the economic engine of America. Unfortunately, it has seen tough economic times lately, and it's time for a renewed emphasis on those issues that serve to strengthen the middle class and improve the lives of working families. That's why I established the Populist Caucus to focus exclusively on these types of issues.

Populist Caucus Platform:
1.  Fighting for working families and the middle class by creating and retaining good-paying jobs in America, providing fair wages, proper benefits, a level playing field at the negotiating table, and ensuring American workers have secure, solvent retirement plans.
2.  Cutting taxes for the middle class and establishing an equitable tax structure.
3.  Providing affordable, accessible, quality health care for all Americans.
4.  Ensuring quality primary education for all American children, and affordable college education for all who want it.
5.  Defending American competiveness by fighting for fair trade principles.
6.  Protecting consumers, so that Americans can have faith in the safety and effectiveness of the products they purchase -

Braley was also an opponent of SOPA:

No doubt Karl Rove and the Republican Super PACs will invest heavily in this race.  Their first step though is to prevent Tea Party Congressman Steve King (R) from becoming the nominee:

“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”

The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.

The group’s plans, which were outlined for the first time last week in an interview with Mr. Law, call for hard-edge campaign tactics, including television advertising, against candidates whom party leaders see as unelectable and a drag on the efforts to win the Senate. Mr. Law cited Iowa as an example and said Republicans could no longer be squeamish about intervening in primary fights.

“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.” - New York Times, 2/2/13

While Rove's group tries to figure out how to stop King for the nominee, I suggest we get an early start on Braley's campaign.  Be sure to Like his Facebook page:

And you can sign up for his campaign here:

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:35 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Jim & Melanie in IA.

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