JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, an outspoken critic of the uncompromising nature of modern politics, is expected to speak Tuesday at a memorial service for Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, who fatally shot himself not long after entering a combative campaign for governor.
Many of Missouri’s top elected officials were to join Danforth in mourning Schweich, who died in what police describe as an apparent suicide last Thursday at his suburban St. Louis home.
The 54-year-old Republican auditor leaves behind a wife and two children, a seemingly rising political career and plenty of questions for Missouri politicians who now are wondering whether the negative nature of today’s campaigns contributed to Schweich’s death.
Schweich fatally shot himself just minutes after calling reporters to say he wanted to go public with allegations that the Missouri Republican Party chairman had made anti-Semitic comments about him. A Schweich spokesman said he also had been upset recently about a new negative radio ad that belittled his physical appearance and integrity as an opening salvo in the Republican primary for the 2016 governor’s race.