Iowa Rep. Braley Endorses Edwards
Like Edwards, Braley is a former trial lawyer, and his strong ties to local unions and Democratic activists could help Edwards to solidify support in the working-class 1st District, a chunk of northeastern Iowa that stretches from blue-collar Waterloo to the Mississippi River.
Braley is the highest-ranking Democrat in Iowa to endorse in the '08 contest, and his district represents prime real estate for 2008 Democrats. Having just run a highly competitive campaign, he can readily tap a network of volunteers, activists and supporters to help Edwards turn out caucusgoers. Braley also will act as a surrogate for the former North Carolina senator at events around the district, said Edwards spokesman Dan Leistikow.
"Today, I'm proud to endorse John Edwards for president," Braley said in a statement provided by the Edwards campaign. "Throughout this campaign, on issue after issue, John has proposed bold ideas to end the power of special interests in Washington and restore our government to the American people. John is the only Democratic candidate who grew up in rural America, and he has most specific, most progressive and most far-reaching ideas."
Like Edwards, Braley had considerable courtroom success before entering politics, and as a former president of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, he belongs to a network of high-level, politically active plaintiffs' lawyers who represent a key Edwards support base. In his 2006 campaign against entrepreneur Mike Whalen, Braley also struck many of the same populist notes that Edwards hits in his presidential stump speech.
-- Shailagh Murray
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