The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

December 2, 2013

Iowa Dem. governor candidate separating from wife

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic state Rep. Tyler Olson announced Monday that he and his wife are separating, but he says he remains committed to his campaign for governor.

Olson said he and his wife, Sarah, are starting divorce proceedings. The couple live in Cedar Rapids and have two young children. Olson said they will raise their kids together and that his wife is supportive of him remaining on the 2014 campaign trail.

"We're going to work together to ease the transition for the kids and also meet the demands of a statewide campaign," Olson said.

Olson, 37, said he will scale back his campaign events through the end of the year, but he plans to resume campaigning after the holidays.

He has tried to portray himself as a fresh alternative to Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to run for an unprecedented sixth term.

"I think at the end of the day, while this is a wrenching personal situation, it doesn't change anything about the reasons I got into the race," said Olson, whose family was by his side when he announced his campaign in July.

Olson is one of at least two Democrats running for governor. He's in his fourth term in the state House and is the former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. He recently won the endorsement of Iowa's largest union, Iowa Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford couldn't recall another candidate announcing a marital separation mid-campaign, but he said that if there are no more personal revelations about the divorce, Olson should be able to weather this.

"If it's simply, it didn't work out, if that's what we're looking at, then the key thing is you want to get out in front of this. Get it done, have the story out and be done with it," Goldford said.

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