Cruz Adviser: Yep, I Paid For The Ad That Preceded GOP Candidate’s Suicide

Jeff Roe, principal of Axiom Strategies, is a top adviser for Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) national political operation.

A senior adviser for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) presidential campaign broke his silence Wednesday on his involvement in a nasty campaign in Missouri that preceded the suicide of a Republican gubernatorial candidate there.

Jeff Roe, the principal of Kansas City, Mo.-based Axiom Strategies, was managing Republican Catherine Hanaway’s gubernatorial campaign when a statewide radio ad aired in mid-February that attacked her primary rival, former Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich (R). The spot was cited as contributing to the charged campaign atmosphere amid which Schweich committed suicide on Feb. 26.

The ad’s “House of Cards”-style narrator compared Schweich to Barney Fife, the bumbling sidekick to Sheriff Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show,” and said that Democrats in Washington would “squash [Schweich] like the little bug that he is.”

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch report published last month tied Roe to the political action committee that ran the ad, Citizens for Fairness in Missouri. At the time, Roe did not respond to requests for comment on the ad from TPM and other new outlets.

But in a new interview with the Kansas City Star, Roe said he financed the spot with $8,300 of his own money.

Former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) had called out the ad as “bullying” in his scathing eulogy at Schweich’s funeral. Roe declined to comment on that characterization but did say that he would not have run the ad if he had been aware of Schweich’s mental state, according to the newspaper.

Roe also told the Kansas City Star that while his firm would continue to manage Hanaway’s gubernatorial campaign, he would have little, if any, involvement with it because he is committed to Cruz’s campaign. He further suggested that Hanaway was unhappy with the tone of the anti-Schweich ad.

“She had a very aggressive conversation with me afterwards about my participation in the race and what it would look like if I wanted to stay involved going forward,” he told the newspaper.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: