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Mystery Surrounds Missouri Republican’s Suicide

Tom Schweich was reportedly the target of anti-Semitic ‘whisper campaign’

Gabriela Geselowitz
March 02, 2015
(Tom Schweich)

(Tom Schweich)

Tom Schweich was the auditor of Missouri, gearing up for the Republican primaries in an attempt to run for governor. On February 26, he was found with a gunshot wound that investigators are saying was self-inflicted, and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Now, political insiders are saying that his death may have had to do with a smear tactics used against him—attempts to discredit his reputation, by bringing up his Jewish ancestry.

Tony Messenger, an editorial columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, revealed in the newspaper that Schweich had told him about an anti-Semitic “whisper campaign” against him, orchestrated by John Hancock, the head of the Missouri Republican Party.

Schweich was an Episcopalian, but his paternal grandfather was Jewish, a fact of which he had said he was proud.

According to the Forward, Schweich killed himself shortly after calling the Associated Press with his accusations against Hancock.

“Until recently, I mistakenly believed that Tom Schweich was Jewish, but it was simply a part of what I believed to be his biography — no different than the fact that he was from St. Louis and had graduated from Harvard Law School,” Hancock has since said in a statement.

The full details of the “whisper campaign” are as of yet unclear, but apparently Schweich felt that hostility would not be taken seriously. Messenger wrote: “In the end, [Schweich] called me, perhaps because he didn’t have anybody else. Nobody in his party wanted him to hold a news conference suggesting that there were anti-Semites in the Republican Party.”

Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of