CNN Political Commentator Dead At 58

( – Alice Stewart, a seasoned political adviser and CNN political commentator renowned for her extensive work on numerous GOP presidential campaigns, has passed away at the age of 58.

Authorities reported that Stewart’s body was discovered early Saturday morning in the Belle View neighborhood of northern Virginia. Law enforcement officials stated that no foul play is suspected and believe her death resulted from a medical emergency.

Mark Thompson, CNN’s CEO, expressed the network’s grief in an email to staff on Saturday. “Alice was a very dear friend and colleague to all of us at CNN,” he wrote. “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.”

Born on March 11, 1966, in Atlanta, Stewart embarked on her career as a local reporter and producer in Georgia. She later moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where she became a news anchor. In an interview with the Harvard International Review, Stewart recounted her journey from local news to political communications. She served as communications director for then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a role she continued during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Her political career included serving as communications director for the 2012 presidential campaigns of former Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who was also a CNN commentator. Most recently, Stewart held the position of communications director for Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 GOP presidential campaign.

Reflecting on her impact, Senator Cruz posted on X, “Alice was wonderful and talented and a dear friend. She lived every day to the fullest, and she will be deeply missed.” Stewart joined CNN as a political commentator ahead of the 2016 election and became a frequent on-air presence, offering insights on political news, including an appearance on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” as recently as Friday.

“We always invited her to come on my show because we knew we would be a little bit smarter at the end of that conversation,” Blitzer shared with Jessica Dean on “CNN Newsroom.” “She helped our viewers better appreciate what was going on and that’s why we will miss her so much.”

Dana Bash, CNN anchor and chief political correspondent, who knew Stewart for nearly two decades, remembered her as “somebody who told it straight.” Bash remarked, “One of the many reasons why she was so valuable to us on our political panels is because she brought that experience. She brought that understanding of how Republican politics and campaigns work, and she never, ever did it with anything other than a smile.”

In a 2020 interview with the Harvard Political Review, Stewart described her role at CNN as offering a conservative yet independent perspective. “My position at CNN is to be a conservative voice yet an independent thinker,” she said. “I’m not a Kool-Aid drinker; I’m not a never-Trumper, and I didn’t check my common sense and decency at the door when I voted for (Trump).”

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson commemorated Stewart, recalling her belief that politics should be about building friendships rather than creating enemies. “She was one of the first ones to call me and encourage me” after he suspended his presidential campaign earlier this year, Hutchinson told CNN. They spoke just last week “about the mess that we see in our politics today,” he added. “She was trying to change that, and we’ll miss her.”

Stewart co-hosted the podcast “Hot Mics From Left to Right” with fellow CNN commentator Maria Cardona. Cardona, visibly shaken, shared on “CNN Newsroom,” “I just can’t believe that she’s gone.” She revealed that they had planned to record a podcast episode on the day Stewart was found. “I want everyone to know what a special person she was, especially in this industry. Today’s politics can be indecent and so dirty, and Alice was just such a loving, shining light.”

In addition to her media and political work, Stewart was active on the senior advisory committee at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, where she previously served as a fellow. Outside of her professional life, she was an avid runner, often sharing photos from various road races on social media, including the TCS New York City Marathon in November and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile race last month.

Alice Stewart’s legacy is one of dedication, kindness, and a commitment to enhancing political discourse with integrity and insight. Her passing leaves a significant void in the world of political journalism and among her many colleagues and friends.