Monday’s announcement by state Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, that his marriage is ending, but his gubernatorial campaign is not, is drawing some reaction.
The Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich says any momentum Olson’s campaign had has been halted:
A candidate whose personal life shatters five months into the campaign will have to spend time reassuring voters and donors that he’s up to the task. At best, this is a distraction that must be overcome. At worst, it’s the beginning of the end of his campaign.
Olson’s job is complicated by the fact his wife and two young children were central to his message and the image of his campaign. The state representative from Cedar Rapids peppered his stump speech with stories about how he wooed and won his wife through politics and persistence, and the dinnertime dance parties with his kids.
Over at The Iowa Republican, Craig Robinson says a campaign built largely on Olson’s positive, youthful, family-oriented image, rather than policy positions, now has an image problem:
In light of yesterday’s news about Olson, I think it is only fair to ask whether or not we really know who Tyler Olson is and what he stands for. It’s obvious that he’s not the family man his wife told us he was in his campaign video. Being a governor is all about setting priorities, and it seems Olson’s main priority in life is running for political office. That may seem harsh, but that’s how most Iowans are going to view the situation after watching the launch of this campaign and followed by a very public divorce.
It is harsh, but I think Robinson does get at the toughest question Olson will face if he carries on. Where are your priorities?
Maybe that’s unfair. But the reality is there will be folks on both sides of the aisle, even among Olson’s allies, who will wonder why someone would continue a grueling campaign for governor at the same time his personal life is coming apart, and with two young children at the center of the tumult. His friends may gently question his wisdom. His critics will paint it as misguided ambition.
I’m certainly not saying he’s disqualified by divorce, but the timing is tough. Perhaps too tough to overcome. It’s still too soon to know for sure.
Meanwhile, Olson’t potential rivals are smartly saying as little as possible. Gov. Terry Branstad says he won’t comment.