Tom Schweich the State Auditor in Missouri and a Republican candidate to be governor, died Thursday in what was an apparent suicide after he decided to go public with his allegations that rivals in his party planned to mount a whisper campaign that was anti-Semitic about his heritage.
His suicide came just minutes after he made a call to the AP accusing the head of the Republican Party in Missouri, John Hancock, of making comments about him that were anti-Semitic.
Schweich was an Episcopalian who was churchgoing, but one of his grandfather’s was Jewish. Hancock denied a short time later that he made remarks that were anti-Semitic about Schweich, but did admit he thought Schweich was Jewish due to his last name.
Hancock told reporters that he did not remember a specific time that he said that Schweich was Jewish but it was plausible he could have told somebody that Tom had been Jewish because he personally thought he was, but not in any demeaning or derogatory manner.
Tony Messenger a political columnist wrote that Schweich disclosed the existence of a whisper campaign of anti-Semitism a couple of days ago.
However, the columnists did not know if that campaign had in fact driven the candidate to commit suicide. He believed however that it had disturbed the candidate deeply, especially in a state that is deeply conservative where anti-Semitism and racism looms large as was evidenced last year with the shooting rampage in nearly Overland Park, Kansas.
Schweich who was 54 was re-elected this past November after serving four years and announced in January he would seek the nomination of his party for governor.
Police received a call from Schweich’s house shortly before 10:00. He was found with a single gunshot wound and everything points to the state auditor taking his own life.
Police would not say where the gunshot. The firearm was a handgun and at least one member of the family was inside the house when the shooting took place.