Rep. Tyler Olson Ends Campaign for Governor

By James Lynch, Reporter

Rep. Tyler Olson of Cedar Rapids is announcing that he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for governor. (GAZETTE PHOTO)

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By Adam Carros

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Rep. Tyler Olson has confirmed that he is dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for governor.

“It is time to end my campaign for governor,” Olson said in a brief announcement.

His decision comes as no surprise given his announcement earlier this month that he and his wife, Sarah, the parents of two young children, were divorcing.

At that time, he acknowledged the decision 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.”

Political observers questioned whether Olson – or any candidate – could handle the rigors of a statewide campaign along with the emotional and personal burden of divorce proceedings.

Recent polling may provide a “graceful exit” for Olson, one longtime Cedar Rapids Democrat suggested.

In a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday morning, he trailed incumbent Republican Gov. Terry Branstad 50 to 32 percent, and an Iowa Poll found that 12 percent of respondents gave him a favorable rating.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute doubted Olson’s divorce had much impact on the numbers because Olson is not well-known.

Olson scaled back his campaign operation in early December to help his family through the transition. However, he said he would resume his campaign after the holidays.

When Olson, who has served in the Iowa House since 2007, announced his plans to run for governor, Liz Bennett announced she would run in his southeast side Cedar Rapids district.

“I will continue to focus on my family, finish my term as state representative, rejoin Paulson Electric and look for opportunities to serve my community as time allows,” Olson said in his email announcement.

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