Bruce Braley, Iowa’s first congressional district representative, announced that he will run for Tom Harkin’s Senate seat in the 2014 election.
Harkin will be retiring after he finishes his current term.
“This is going to be one of the most high-profile Senate elections in 2014. We’re a moderate state that has a divided congressional delegation, and this is going to be one of the most competitive races in the country,” said David Peterson, professor of political science.
Braley has shown interest in running for either governor of Iowa or for a seat on the congressional Senate.
“He’s been close to Senator Harkin for a long time and they share some of the same campaign staff," Peterson said. "This is not a surprise."
Mack Shelley, professor of political science and statistics, agrees with Peterson, but said there are other options than Braley to fill Harkin's seat.
“It wasn’t a big surprise; he wasn’t the only obvious candidate. I presume the others will get into the primary,” Shelley said. “David Loebsack, the other Democratic member of the House, was discussed as a possibility as well, but Loebsack said he’s not interested.”
It is speculated that Braley may be trying to get a head start on his fundraising by announcing his intention to run so quickly after Harkin said he would retire.
“He’s laying a marker saying, 'I’m running and if you want to think about running keep in mind you have to beat me.' That may make people second-guess whether or not they’re going to run,” Peterson said. “I think this is a shot across the bow to all potential candidates from both parties.”