Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Olson Out Of Governor Race

Well this sure shook up our Tuesday morning: Tyler Olson, two weeks after announcing his wife had asked for a divorce, is now dropping out of the race for Iowa Governor.
While focused on supporting my children through the transition in my personal life it is clear they need my full attention. It is time to end my campaign for Governor.

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.
Totally steps on that Women For Murphy release (though if Pat Murphy really wanted to do something for women he'd drop out and endorse one of the three actual women who are running).

Olson's news is really only a surprise in its timing. He had announced he was cancelling events through the holidays and would resume his campaign in January.

But Olson faced not just a relaunch, but an entire re-invention. His image as a young family man was central to the rationale of his whole campaign, with his wife and children featured heavily in his announcement and stump speech. The end of the marriage, and the inevitable rumor mill, cut close to the core, and in the end made the campaign unsustainable.

Privately, many Democrats initially inclined to Olson had made the same assessment, and presumably that feedback had reached Olson. That "hiatus" now feels like the denial and bargaining stages of the grieving process, which has now reached acceptance.

The next couple days are important for Senator Jack Hatch, the other leading candidate in the race. He promptly said the right things, both when the news initially broke two weeks ago and again today. Hatch doesn't seem like the kind of guy who keeps an enemies list of the many legislators and unions who had already endorsed his main opponent, unlike certain big lugs we all know.  He seems like someone who will be calling those folks and asking for support, and not coincidentally trying to head off another big name from getting into the race.

There are two other names actually in the race. Former legislator Bob Krause has pointed out, with some justification, that he's being ignored in the media despite a higher favorability rating in last weekend's Register poll than Hatch or Olson. Granted, 3/4 of respondents didn't know enough about any of them to have an opinion, and The Iowa Republican was reeeeally stretching to call Krause a "frontrunner," but he may get a little more attention now. (The other contender, Paul Dahl, is a Some Dude of questionable credibility.)

As for Olson, he'll finish up his last legislative session. Fellow Democrat Liz Bennett announced for Olson's house seat months ago.

Olson's divorce isn't a career-ending scandal, it's just a marriage gone bad for whatever reason at a really bad time politically. I see Olson taking a few years to regroup and then getting back into the ball game some point in the future, when his life has settled and his kids have grown some more. This isn't an end for Olson; it's a pause.

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