A leading Republican candidate for Missouri’s governor’s office died in an apparent suicide on Thursday morning. Thomas Schweich, the 54-year-old state auditor who’d just won a second term while running unopposed in 2014, was pronounced deceased from a single gunshot wound, possibly self-infliction, according to a Clayton Police Department press release. Detectives are conducting an investigation and an autopsy is pending, authorities said. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Schweich’s wife, who was in another room, heard him making phone calls — and then a gunshot. It happened just hours after Schweich had requested interviews with the Post-Dispatch and The Associated Press at his home. Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock asked for prayers for Schweich’s family.
An editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has posted an accounting of the phone calls made by Schweich before he made the final request for a press conference. An excerpt:
Mr. Schweich said that over the past few months he had heard from campaign donors that while political consultant John Hancock was doing work for gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway, he would mention in passing that Mr. Schweich was Jewish. Mr. Schweich, who says he is an Episcopalian, said he believed the mentions of his faith heritage were intended to harm him politically in a gubernatorial primary in which many Republican voters are evangelical Christians. He said his grandfather was Jewish, and that he was very proud of his connection to the Jewish faith. He said his grandfather taught him to never allow any anti-Semitism go unpunished, no matter how slight. Mr. Schweich said he had a donor who would confirm Mr. Hancock’s comments on the record. He said he had an email from another donor mentioning the conversations.