DES MOINES, Iowa -- Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley said Thursday he will run for the U.S. Senate seat in Iowa being vacated by Sen. Tom Harkin after 30 years.
Braley, a four-term House member from Waterloo, announced his plans in an email to potential supporters. He said representing the entire state would be "a big responsibility" and included a link to a fundraising site.
Braley's announcement came less than two weeks after Harkin, a fellow Democrat first elected to the Senate in 1984, announced that he would not be seeking a sixth term.
In what was a surprise announcement to some, Harkin, 73, said he wanted to spend time with his family before age or illness prevented it.
Within 24 hours of Harkin's Jan. 26 announcement, Braley, 55, said he was weighing a Senate bid. He had been eyeing a Senate run since Democrats unsuccessfully urged him to challenge six-term Republican Charles Grassley in 2010.
Some Democrats have described Braley as a consensus choice for the party. Former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack also is said to be considering a bid.
Braley met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and leaders of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last week in Washington.
No Republicans have stepped forward, although Iowa Congressmen Steve King and Tom Latham are considering campaigns.