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CNN mourns death of political commentator Alice Stewart

Stephen Battaglio – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

CNN paid tribute to longtime Republican political commentator Alice Stewart who was found dead Saturday in the Belle View neighborhood in northern Virginia.

Law enforcement told the network they did not suspect foul play in the death of Stewart, 58, whose body was discovered outdoors. CNN said police believe she suffered a medical emergency.

Stewart’s death left her colleagues at CNN stunned and saddened. Anchor Jake Tapper called it “an unspeakable loss” during Sunday’s edition of “State of the Union.”

While Stewart worked for staunchly conservative Republican candidates, Tapper noted she had deep friendships with people on the other side of the political spectrum.

Ashley Allison, a Democratic political commentator on the program, held back tears as she described their off-camera connection. She said the two grew close following a heated exchange on CNN over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022.

Allison said she reluctantly accepted Stewart’s invitation for a drink after the discussion. They eventually became close friends and trained together for a marathon.

“That night we got to know each other for who we were and it wasn’t about politics,” she said. “She was a good person and I loved her and I’m really going to miss her.”

Stewart was a former local TV anchor who moved into politics when she became communications director for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. She held the same position on Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign and served in a similar capacity for GOP presidential aspirants Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Stewart often called for civility during the 2016 campaign when Cruz faced harsh attacks from former President Donald Trump.

“That was always Alice,” Tapper said. “She was all about civility and all about kindness.”

She joined CNN ahead of the 2016 presidential election and had been a regular presence since. Her last appearance was Friday on “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer.”

“Alice was a friend and colleague to all of us at CNN,” CNN Chairman Mark Thompson said in a statement. “A political veteran and an Emmy Award-winning journalist who brought an incomparable spark to CNN’s coverage, known across our bureaus not only for her political savvy, but for her unwavering kindness. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn such an extraordinary loss.”

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©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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