Politics

Report: Cruz Aide’s ‘Front Group’ Ran Ads Against Candidate Who Killed Himself

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

A committee that financed a negative ad aimed at Missouri state auditor and gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich — just before he committed suicide — is a “front group” operated by top Ted Cruz strategist Jeff Roe, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

It’s been an interesting couple of months for Roe. In January, it was announced he would be a senior strategist for Cruz’s presidential operation. On February 26, Schweich committed suicide on the heels of an ad claiming that he “could be easily confused for the deputy sheriff of Mayberry” and that he could be easily “manipulated.” (There was also an alleged whisper campaign.)

Rumors immediately began to swirl that Roe was behind the ad. (According to one news service covering Missouri politics, the group amended their report on the day of the suicide, removing expenditures to Roe’s firm, Axiom Strategies.)

Observers were quick to blame political “bullying” as a potential culprit for the suicide. In a eulogy for Schweich, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth declared “politics has gone so hideously wrong.”

It might be easy to scoff at such suggestions. Politics, as they say, ain’t beanbag. But this incident, coupled with the fact that one of the men tied to the plot to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran’s wife also committed suicide last year, suggests we might not realize the toll hardball politics takes on its victims — and participants.

For better or worse, Ted Cruz has hired a controversial consultant with very sharp elbows. “He is a mean, bare-knuckles brawler,” a Republican operative told the Washington Examiner. … And that was before the suicide.

Note: Matt Lewis’s wife previously consulted for Ted Cruz’s 2012 senate campaign, and currently consults for RickPAC.