Democrat Tyler Olson of Cedar Rapids has ended his campaign for governor, two weeks after announcing he and his wife are divorcing.
“While focused on supporting my children through the transition in my person life, it is clear they need my full attention,” Olson said in a written statement released this morning. “It is time to end my campaign for governor.”
On December 2, Olson announced he and his wife, Sarah, were separating and plan to divorce. Olson temporarily suspended his campaign at that time. Today, Olson’s written statement is posted on his campaign website announcing the campaign has ended. The couple have two children — a two-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son — and Olson had made his young family a centerpiece of his campaign. A family photo remains on his Twitter account, along with a reference to his status as a husband, father and a candidate for governor.
Olson has been a state representative and in his written statement today indicated he will return to Des Moines in January to serve in the Iowa House. Alex Youn, a spokesman for Olson’s campaign, said Olson has not yet decided whether to seek reelection to the House in 2014. In his written statement, Olson indicated he would “rejoin” the family business, Paulson Electric.
Olson, who is 36 years old, was elected 11 months ago to serve as chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, but he resigned from the post in June before launching his gubernatorial campaign in July. In late October Olson won a critical endorsement from the political action committee of AFSCME, the state employees’ union.
Two other Democrats — state Senator Jack Hatch of Des Moines and former pastor Paul Dahl of Webster City — are the only announced candidates for governor. Another Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010 has said he may run for governor in 2014.