Divorce could spell disaster for gubernatorial candidate, expert - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Divorce could spell disaster for gubernatorial candidate, expert says

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The announcement came Monday afternoon: gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tyler Olson (D-Cedar Rapids) is separating from his wife.

To handle this development, he said he plans to scale back his campaign until January.

"I just think it's important from my family's perspective for me to take some time to make sure the transition for our kids is the best it can be," he told KWWL on Monday.

The divorce is a highly personal issue, but some experts say it could be a fatal blow for Olson's campaign against Governor Branstad.

"So he was going to be tough to beat regardless," said Political Analyst Chris Larimer. "I think any negative press, whether it was for [gubernatorial candidate] Senator Hatch or Representative Olson, was going to be a setback for them because they really had to run the perfect campaign to get ahead of Branstad," he said.
Governor Terry Branstad has not technically announced his candidacy for governor. 

Larimer said political campaigns are all about conveying a simple message, and for Olson, who has characterized himself as a family man, the problem is where to go from here.

"It's an unfortunate reality, because people do vote based on their personal connection," Larimer said. "They don't always vote based on policy differences."

But Olson said the possible political fallout of his divorce won't affect his campaign.

"Different people are going to react differently," he said. "But the bottom line is, it doesn't change why I'm running or the fact that we need a new perspective in Terrace Hill."

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