Vote 2014: Braley Has No Plans to Endorse in Iowa 1st District Primary

By James Lynch, Reporter

First Congressional District Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, center, with his wife Carolyn, left, speaks to a large group of supporters 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. (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Rep. Bruce Braley has no plans to endorse any of the candidates lining up to succeed him in Iowa's U.S. House 1st District.

“My job is not to make a decision for the people of the 1st District,” the Waterloo Democrat said this morning during a weekly news conference.

Braley is not seeking a fifth term because he’s running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin.

So far, five 1st District Democrats have entered the race or have formed exploratory committees. Rep. Pat Murphy of Dubuque, Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon and Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O’Brien are running, and Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic of Waterloo and former legislator Swati Dandekar of Marion have formed exploratory committees.

“There are a lot of great people running,” Braley said. “I have a lot of friends who have expressed an interest in succeeding me as the Democratic candidate and that’s why I’m trying to be helpful if they ask for my help.”

Braley said he’s talking with candidates about challenges they will face running in the 20-county 1st District.

“I am basically having those conversations with anyone who wants to visit with me at this time,” he said, “but I am not planning to endorse anyone.”

The Republican field, so far, consists of businessmen Steve Rathje of Cedar Rapids and Rod Blum of Dubuque. Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha is expected to enter the race this summer.

The 20-county district stretches from Marshalltown north to Minnesota and east to the Mississippi River. It includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Dubuque.

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