DES MOINES — U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley is planning to meet with Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate, but he said he has not decided whether the will run to succeed Sen. Tom Harkin.
Speculation that the four-term Waterloo Democrat will run for the Senate is growing, however, fueled in part by meetings today with the Iowa House and Senate Democratic caucuses at the Statehouse.
Braley talked about the “tremendous legacy of Sen. Harkin, which everyone in there knew and appreciated,” Braley said after meeting with House Democrats.
Harkin announced over the weekend that he will not seek re-election in 2014. That touched off speculation about who will succeed him, and Democrats appear to be coalescing around Braley. He had offers of assistance from lawmakers, and as he left that meeting, a legislative page stopped Braley to offer to volunteer on his campaign.
“These are just people who are offering their encouragement and their support, but nothing beyond that at this point,” he said.
If he decides to run, “I’m going to need their advice, their support, their help,” Braley said. “I’m going to need them to introduce me to me to their friends, their neighbors, their constituents, but that’s still a long way off.
“That’s still a long way off, and I just wanted to have a chance to speak to them at the beginning of this process.”
In the meantime, Braley is weighing the pros and cons of a Senate bid.
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“I’m the sort of person who makes decisions in a careful deliberative way,” Braley said. “So when I ran for Congress, I sat down and prepared a list of all the pros and all the cons. I sat down with my wife and talked through them. It’s not something you rush into.”
He hasn’t heard from President Barack Obama, but Braley has had calls from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and plans to meet with Reid and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado to discuss a possible candidacy.
He hasn’t set a deadline for a decision.
“The timeline I’m on is to make sure I give it thoughtful and deliberate consideration,” he said. “My wife and I are giving serious consideration to this, but we have not made a final decision.”