After nearly four-and-a-half months in the role, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party is stepping down and is expected to step forward soon as a candidate for higher office.
Tyler Olson submitted his letter of resignation today and it will take effect Saturday, when the Democratic Party’s state central committee meets to select Olson’s replacement.
“I’m just going to take a few weeks, talk with folks and try to make a determination on how best I can serve the state moving forward,” Olson told Radio Iowa this afternoon.
Olson was elected chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party on January 26, 2013 — the same day Senator Tom Harkin made the surprise announcement that he would not seek reelection in 2014. Harkin’s decision spawned a chain reaction. Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo is running for the U.S. Senate now and Olson is among those who are considering a race for Braley’s U.S. House seat. Olson is also pondering the idea of running for governor and his resignation letter cites his visits — as party chairman — to cities like Shenandoah and Sioux City, cities which are not part of the first congressional district but perhaps hint that a statewide campaign is in Olson’s future.
Olson today will only confirm that it is unlikely that he will seek reelection to the state legislature in 2014.
“I haven’t made a final decision yet,” Olson told Radio Iowa, “but you know I think there’s a real opportunity for someone to lay out a vision to move the state forward over the next five to 10 years and I’m just going to make a decision about how exactly I would make that case.”
Olson indicated it will be “two to three weeks” before he makes an announcement about his intentions.
“There are a number of conversations that I have to have with folks across the state that I just could not have as chair,” Olson said.
Scott Brennan, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party for the 2008 elections, is expected to serve as interim chair.
Olson, a lawyer from Cedar Rapids who will turn 37 later this month, has served in the Iowa House since 2007. Olson is vice president of Paulson Electric, a family business with offices in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo.