Vote 2014: Rep. Braley May Challenge Gov. Branstad

First Congressional District Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, speaks with reporters following his win over Ben Lange at the Black Hawk County Democrat election party at the UAW hall, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP Photo/The Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney) TV OUT


By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa - Rep. Bruce Braley may run for governor in 2014. Braley will be in Des Moines on Monday to hold a news conference on combating radon in schools.

But Braley's trip to the Capitol will happen at the same time as some news reports that he could be a challenger to Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.

KCCI-TV political analyst Dennis Goldford said that may not be a coincidence. "This isn't really early because the governor's race is in 2014. The party conventions are in June of 2014," Goldford said.

Braley isn't the only potential Democratic candidate. Former Gov. Chet Culver told a Cedar Rapids newspaper he's considering a run.

"The governor's office is a statewide office, and it helps to have statewide familiarity, name recognition, visibility to the voters," Goldford said.

But challenging an undefeated five-term governor won't be an easy task, especially for Braley, who doesn't have the same level of name recognition. "Culver has it, but of course, his last campaign was a failed campaign, and American politics is pretty unforgiving in that regard," Goldford said.

Branstad hasn't yet announced whether he'll run again. If he does, there still could be a Republican challenger in a primary election.

If Branstad decides not to seek re-election, the race could get interesting.

"To look at press coverage, Gov. Branstad seems to keep Lt. Gov. Reynolds joined at the hip. They're just never apart," Goldford said.

A spokesman for Branstad said he won't make a decision for another year, whether he's on the ballot or not, the list of possible challengers is likely to grow.

"We're not Texas or Alabama, but even here in Iowa, it can still get very interesting," Goldford said.

Other names that could end up on the ballot include state Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, as well as state Sens. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls; Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs; Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, and Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids.

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