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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She is a graduate of New York University, where she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, the Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Members of Missouri's Republican Party Committee defended their chairman Friday against allegations that he carried out a "whisper campaign" about gubernatorial candidate and state Auditor Tom Schweich's (R) faith.

Schweich committed suicide on Feb. 26 after hastily arranging an interview with local newspaper and Associated Press reporters in which he planned to publicly accuse state GOP Chairman John Hancock of telling people that he was Jewish. Schweich was an Episcopalian, although he had Jewish heritage.

But reports from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Columbia Daily Tribune showed that some members of the party organization believe there's no evidence Hancock carried out such a "whisper campaign" and are not keen on the idea of ousting the chairman.

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A Republican aide shed more light Thursday on the moments leading up to the suicide of a leading candidate for Missouri governor, an event that has torn the state party apart in recent days.

Martha Fitz, a friend of Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich's (R) family, revealed that she was on the phone with Schweich's wife on the morning of Feb. 26 when the auditor shot himself at their family home.

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A 3-year-old boy shot his 18-month-old brother Tuesday at a home in Hillsboro, Tenn., the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said officials were investigating how the older boy got hold of a .25-caliber pistol, which had discharged and hit the toddler in the area of his head and neck, according to the newspaper.

The toddler is expected to recover, Graves said. Authorities were still questioning family members and it was unknown whether any charges would be brought.

Missouri Republicans this week began to break their silence about the state GOP chairman's alleged link to state Auditor Tom Schweich's (R) suicide.

The floodgates opened Tuesday at Schweich's funeral service, where former U.S. Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) implicitly rejected Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock's denials about being involved in an anti-Semitic "whisper campaign." Schweich had told people before his death that Hancock was telling people he was Jewish, when in fact he was Episcopalian.

Schweich, who was a leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, believed that the "whisper campaign" was intended to hurt him among evangelical Christian primary voters. Hancock had previously done consulting work for Schweich's primary opponent, Catherine Hanaway.

Three distinct camps emerged following Schweich's funeral: those who demanded Hancock’s resignation, those who lined up in support of the party leader, and those who refused to touch such a political football -- for now. But while lawmakers can make all the noise they want, it's ultimately up to the state Republican Party committee to decide whether Hancock stays or goes.

Here's a look at some of the state's political heavy hitters and what they've said about Hancock's future with the Missouri GOP.

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