Soon after 21st Century Democrats co-founder Tom Harkin announced he wouldn’t run for a sixth term as a U.S. senator representing Iowa, he threw his support behind U.S. Representative Bruce Braley.

“When I was campaigning for Bruce during his first run for Congress in 2006, I knew he was the real thing: a passionate progressive, a natural-born leader. He is someone from humble roots, who, in the time he has been in Congress, has fought for working people and the struggling middle class,” Harkin said.

Progressive Credentials:

While in Congress, Braley has worked hard to advance progressive values, currently at the forefront of combating sexual assaults in the military, championing student loan affordability, opposing Internet censorship and supporting marriage equality.

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin with his choice as the next senator representing Iowa, U.S. Representative Bruce Braley.

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin with his choice for the next senator from Iowa, U.S. Representative Bruce Braley.

That record earned Braley 21st Century Democrats’ endorsement, along with endorsements from dozens of other organizations and elected officials.

Since declaring his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, 11 labor organizations have formally backed Braley: the Iowa Teamsters, the United Transportation Union, UAW Region 4, SEIU Iowa – Local 199, AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the Iowa State Council of Machinists, the Operating Engineers Local 234, the State Association of Letter Carriers, the Iowa Postal Workers Union, the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3 Iowa Union, and the Great Plains Laborers’ District Council.

Braley also earned endorsements from Rep. Dave Loebsack, former Rep. Leonard Boswell, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald and more than 70 Democratic Iowa state legislators.

Working from that solid base of statewide support, the Braley campaign has started strong, touring Iowa to hold meet-and-greets and signing up supporters in all 99 counties. As of the end of the first quarter of 2013, Braley had raised $1.1 million, with more than $1 million cash on hand. So far, Braley has two Republicans opponents who will face off in a primary: David Young, a former staffer for U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, and Matt Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney.

Of course, this isn’t Braley’s first campaign. In 2006, with no prior political experience, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, saying he wanted to stand up for middle-class families who didn’t have a voice in Washington. He was re-elected in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

An attorney who put himself through college and law school, Braley began his career by representing factory workers challenging unsafe company policies. That experience grew into a commitment to fight for people who lost their jobs and pensions, and small businesses struggling with government red tape.

Why We Like Him:

Because he made this video:

And took this picture:


Candidate Quote:

“I am a proud, patriotic, progressive Democrat. And I am oftentimes afraid, but I am never intimidated.”

Candidate Sites:

To learn more about Bruce Braley, visit his website, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.