You sort of know when the email subject line says “Statement from Rep. Tyler Olson” that it’s probably not a typical campaign blast. And it wasn’t:
Statement from Rep. Tyler Olson
CEDAR RAPIDS – Today, Rep. Tyler Olson release the following statement regarding his campaign for Governor:
I am saddened to announce today 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.
The decision about whether to continue the race is 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.
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. I am 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. I plan to resume my campaign after the holidays.
I think the public acknowledgment is smart, and necessary. If you go to Olson’s campaign website, one of the first things you see is a photo of his young, attractive family. They were front and center when the Cedar Rapids Democrat announced his candidacy. His wife, who met Olson while they worked on Sen. Rob Hogg’s campaign, introduced him as he jumped into the race. So this wasn’t something that could be kept confidential.
Beyond that, it’s a little soon to fully assess the political implications. He’s scaling back through the holidays, but remains “deeply committed.” In the meantime, he’ll see how his supporters and other folks react.
It’s not the kind of news a candidate, or anyone, for that matter. wants to make. Voters are adults and understand that these things happen. But when you’re already facing a spirited primary fight, for the right to make an uphill climb against a heavily favored five-term incumbent, any setback matters.
UPDATE — Quad-City Times political writer Ed Tibbetts has reax on Twitter from Democratic hopeful Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines.
Sen. Jack Hatch says of Olson divorce news that it's a private matter, he wishes the family the best and adds he'll have no further comment.— Ed Tibbetts (@EdTibbetts) December 2, 2013