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IA-Gov: Tyler Olson scaling back campaign temporarily

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 12:38:24 PM CST


State Representative Tyler Olson just announced that because he and Sarah Olson are separating after seven years of marriage, he is "scaling back campaign events for the remainder of the year to focus on my family and helping them through this transition." He said he and his wife took this step "only after significant discussion and professional support to deal with the issues facing our marriage," and that he is "deeply committed" to continuing the race for governor after the holiday season.

Many prominent Iowa Democrats, including more than two dozen state legislators, have endorsed Olson for governor, as did the state's largest labor union. I will update this post as needed with political reaction.

UPDATE: Added Olson's e-mail about the situation after the jump.

Olson has until March 14, 2014 to decide whether to stay in the race. Democrat Liz Bennett is already running in Iowa House district 65, which Olson is vacating.

State Senator Jack Hatch, another Democratic candidate for governor, said in a statement, "This is a private matter and we should all respect the family's privacy. These matters are always very hard and unpleasant for everyone involved. I wish Rep. Olson, Sarah, and their family the best as they work through this difficult time. I will not have any further comment."

State Senators Janet Petersen and Jeff Danielson, who both endorsed Olson earlier this year, told the Des Moines Register that they still support his gubernatorial campaign.

SECOND UPDATE: No surprise, Governor Terry Branstad has no comment about Olson's family situation.

THIRD UPDATE: In another signal Olson is serious about staying in the governor's race, on December 4 his campaign urged supporters to help collect signatures for his ballot petitions.  

desmoinesdem :: IA-Gov: Tyler Olson scaling back campaign temporarily
E-mail sent on December 2:

Friend,  

I'm saddened to have to tell you that my wife Sarah and I are separating.

This decision was made only after significant discussion and professional support to deal with the issues facing our marriage. We are working through divorce proceedings but remain friends whose number one priority is the happiness and well being of our children.

While this is a family matter, because of my candidacy for Governor I felt it necessary to publicly acknowledge the situation. I am scaling back campaign events for the remainder of the year to focus on my family and helping them through this transition.

The decision about whether to continue the race was complicated, starting with the needs of my kids and my core belief Iowans will have greater opportunity with a new perspective in Terrace Hill. This has been a fact of life since the start of my family: Sarah and I married while I was running for the Iowa House and both my kids were born during my service there.

I am still deeply committed to this race for governor, as I believe Iowans will have greater opportunity with a governor with a strong, positive vision for the future. Our campaign will continue on in full after the holidays.

Thank you for your support and understanding in this difficult time,

- Tyler

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Oh boy, this will go badly from here on (4.00 / 1)
He's not going to be able to run a competent campaign and manage his family issues at the same time.  And his family issues aren't going to be resolved in a month.

I hope he eventually realizes he's going to have to drop out.

Too bad, I was tentatively rooting for him as a rising star.  He still can be.  Just not in 2014.


re: (4.00 / 1)
he'd probably be better off focusing on the legislature and setting himself up for 2018. I don't think anyone's going to take down the Stache in any case, and he's just going to look bad running for governor while mired in a divorce.

[ Parent ]
if he backtracks (0.00 / 0)
and runs for his Iowa House seat again, that would be a raw deal for Liz Bennett, who's been running since the summer.

Invite other Iowa political junkies to join us at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Maybe so, but that's life (4.00 / 1)
You run for office, you're not owed anything.  A monkey wrench can throw your plans awry at any moment.  That's just how it is.

[ Parent ]
divorce is hard under any circumstances (4.00 / 1)
and the process takes months, even if custody and other issues are resolved through mediation. I hope they are able to keep things amicable for the kids.

Invite other Iowa political junkies to join us at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Olson (4.00 / 2)
I would completely understand if Tyler Olson dropped out.  This is sad on many fronts.  Unfortunately, we will have to deal with this matter instead of major issues facing the state.  Divorce and such issues are serious, but personal matters tend to take center stage in campaigns when they shouldn't necessarily do that.  


it should not become a campaign issue (4.00 / 1)
but you may be right, it may become the focus for some when we should be talking about policies to address Iowa's needs.

Invite other Iowa political junkies to join us at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
He's done (4.00 / 1)
I feel bad for him and his family. Very tough. May they find some peace this holiday season.

From a political standpoint...IMHO it's over. His "optics" gave him a chance against TB. Now that's evaporated. I will be surprised if his campaign lasts much after the first of the year. This may have been the day TB won re election. Unless some other Democrat seizes the day like oh I don't know ... Pam Jochum !!!  Also wondering ... What does AFSCME do?


AFSCME will probably stick with him (0.00 / 0)
if he stays in the race. But I bet they are wishing they hadn't jumped in to endorse so early.  

Invite other Iowa political junkies to join us at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand the hand-wringing (4.00 / 1)
I haven't worked with Rep. Olson, but I have heard good things.  I still haven't made a decision for the primary.  But I know the separation/divorce isn't going to factor into my decision, unless more information comes to light that makes me question his character.  A divorce alone is not enough.

I was appalled this morning when I read the Iowa Republican, that Craig Robinson would suggest that it was impossible to get a divorce and still be considered a family man.  I was further appalled this afternoon when Shane VanderHart announced his belief that Olson should drop out, and that he should seek reconciliation and fight for his marriage.  It's 2013, and we should be far past that kind of thinking, especially where all signs are that it is an amicable split.

I've actually been angry with Republicans today for being so judgmental.  This is the same kind of judgmental crap that has repeatedly cast them out of favor with the public -- assuming that anyone who is poor is of lazy character, that anyone who seeks abortion services is sexually immoral, that anyone who gets a divorce (especially with young children) is a bad person who doesn't put the children first.  Where is the outrage at this kind of judgmental, archaic thinking, even in a partisan context?

Marriage is hard, especially with children.  We never know what it is like inside an actual individual marriage, and it is not our position to judge the decisions a particular couple makes.  I'm going to let them judge what's best for their children.  I'm not going to presume to give advice about whether they should reconcile, or assume that either will be lesser parents after a divorce.  If one party wants out, there's not a lot the other can do, and I wouldn't try to change that law, either.

It might be reasonable to question whether he's going to have the focus to run a campaign right now (though that's not really for us to judge at this point either).  People might even wonder how this could happen so soon in the campaign.  But the reality is, things change, sometimes quickly.  If his wife is not criticizing him, why should anyone else?

I wish the best for the whole family.  It is never easy, even when you agree it is best.  But the Republican response  (except for Branstad) has been shameful, and they need to be called out for it.


my dad used to say (0.00 / 0)
You never know what's going on in another person's marriage. I agree, Shane Vander Hart isn't in a position to judge whether other people have worked hard enough to save their marriage. Anyway, a lot of people who are married aren't great parents.

Invite other Iowa political junkies to join us at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Update (4.00 / 1)
RB reports in today's Register that TO says the marital problems were ongoing and there is no third party. Wow !

How could the two of them go out and make their family a centerpiece of the campaign, knowing it might blow up down the line? That makes their campaign up to this point a complete sham, based on the info in the Basu column. Better to have her and the kids in the background from the git go, and talk policy, not family.
>
>And if i know my family is crumbling, The last thing I'm doing is running for governor, for so many reasons. In addition to your family, what about your supporters, your party? How can you put your best foot forward with this going on?  It really makes me question his judgment. . I wouldve voted for the guy, but not now.  


Rekha Basu published a bunch of rumors (0.00 / 0)
We don't know how many of them, if any, are accurate.

Invite other Iowa political junkies to join us at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
rockm is exactly right........ (0.00 / 0)
Basu exposed the real issue, which is the sham campaign once Olson admitted the substantial marital problems were PRIOR and apparently ongoing prior and beyond the campaign announcement.

Frankly, it does not matter to me about any rumor.  Olson made his own bed on announcement day with "The Good Wife" at the microphone.

Time to get out.


[ Parent ]
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