(DENSION/CARROLL, IA) The election for Iowa's open US senate seat is more than a year away but the campaigning is already underway in Siouxland.
Bruce Braley has been an Iowa Congressman since 2007.
He jumped into the race right after long-time Senator Tom Harkin announced his retirement and with no one else officially running yet he's got a big head start.
Several people crowded into a small diner in Carroll during lunch time to sit and meet with congressman Bruce Braley.
"I really wanted to hear what the Congressman has to say. I'm very excited about him actually running for the seat in the senate and I just think he's got a lot of change and opportunities that he's going to offer to us." says Lou Forward who's from Glidden just down the road from Carroll, IA.
Braley spent most of the day traveling through Western Iowa. He hit up Denison shortly after his visit in Carroll. It's his first campaign tour since he announced his candidacy but certainly not his first time in this part of the Hawkeye State.
"I've spent a lot of my life in Western Iowa. I have relatives in western Iowa, lots of friends in this part of the state. So this is an opportunity for me to come back and connect, spend time visiting people about what they want in their next senator," says Congressman Bruce Braley.
This week's trip also brings Braley into the home district of the Republican considered most likely to run for Senate - Congressman Steve King. Braley insists he's not thinking about the general election yet.
"I'm not voting in the republican primary, I'm here to listen," he says.
And with no other Democrats in the race Braley is in a rush to pick up endorsements and avoid a costly primary battle.
"I'm hoping I can have the democratic nomination and we're getting close to making sure that's a reality but I'm preparing for a possibly primary challenge," he says.
But one voter already has her mind made up.
"It's wonderful the opportunities we have in this country and I'd like to see Tom Harkin's plans for our future continue to grow and I think senator Bruce Braley is going to take us in the right direction," says Forward.
Braley says he's ready to continue Harkin's legacy.
"Tom Harkin's been a friend and a mentor and a hero to me for many years and so it's a great opportunity to have the chance to fill his senate seat when he walks out of the senate for the last time," says Representative Braley.
Braley's head start is literally paying off - he's raised more than one million dollars since Tom Harkin announced his retirement.