The race for the Republican nomination for Missouri governor in 2016 once appeared clear-cut: A race between two candidates with ample funding and prominent backers. But the scenario became muddled when one of those candidates, State Auditor Tom Schweich, committed suicide on Feb. 26.
Schweich and his top rival, former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, had been embroiled in a contentious race, and Hanaway’s campaign took a hit after Schweich’s death.
A group connected to Hanaway’s campaign was responsible for an attack ad against Schweich that aired on the radio in the weeks before the former auditor’s suicide. Hanaway also received support from Missouri Republican party Chairman John Hancock; Schweich had accused Hancock of spreading rumors about his religious affiliation in an attempt to harm him politically.
Since Schweich’s death, four other Republican candidates have either announced their intentions to run for governor or have been reported to be considering a run.