Politics

Divorce Drives a Democrat to Drop Out of Iowa Governor's Race

December 18, 2013

Democrat Tyler Olson exited the race for Iowa governor on Tuesday, potentially reopening the field for challengers to incumbent Republican Terry Branstad.

Olson, a state representative from Cedar Rapids, cited the family disruptions caused by the pending divorce from his wife, Sarah. The couple have two young children, and it was for their sake that Olson said he gave up his political ambitions.

“While focused on supporting my children through the transition in my personal life, it is clear they need my full attention,” Olson, 37, said in the statement. “It is time to end my campaign for governor.”

The move was a turnabout from earlier this month, when Olson surprised many by announcing the separation but said he remained committed to his candidacy.

Up until that moment, Sarah Olson and their children had been a centerpiece of the campaign and the readiest example of the generational contrast he sought to draw against Branstad, a 67-year-old, five-term incumbent.

Olson’s departure leaves state Sen. Jack Hatch of Des Moines as the top Democratic candidate in the field. Whether he will continue unchallenged remains to be seen.

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