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CNN political commentator Alice Stewart dies

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Alice Stewart, a veteran political adviser and CNN political commentator who worked on several GOP presidential campaigns, has died. She was 58.

Law enforcement officials told CNN that Stewart’s body was found outdoors in the Bellevue neighborhood in northern Virginia early Saturday morning. No foul play is suspected, and officers believe a medical emergency occurred.

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

Stewart was born on March 11, 1966, in Atlanta.

Stewart started her career as a local reporter and producer in Georgia before moving to Little Rock, Arkansas, to be a news anchor, she told Harvard International Review. She went on to serve as the communications director in then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s office before assuming a similar role for his presidential run in 2008.

She also served as the communications director for the 2012 Republican presidential bids of former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and then former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, also a former CNN commentator. Most recently, Stewart was the communications director for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 GOP campaign.

CNN hired Stewart as a political commentator ahead of the 2016 election, and she appeared on air frequently to provide insight on the political news of the day, including as recently as Friday on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“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 told 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.”

Speaking about her role as a commentator for the network, Stewart told Harvard Political Review in 2020 that she brings “a perspective that I think CNN appreciates.”

“My position at CNN is to be a conservative voice yet an independent thinker,” Stewart 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).”

Stewart was also a co-host of the podcast “Hot Mics From Left to Right,” alongside fellow CNN commentator Maria Cardona.

“I just can’t believe that she’s gone,” Cardona said on “CNN Newsroom,” adding that the two were going to record an episode of their podcast Saturday. “I want everyone to know what a special person she was, especially in this industry. As you know, today’s politics can be indecent and so dirty, and Alice was just such a loving, shining light.”

Stewart also served on the senior advisory committee at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, where she previously was a fellow.

In her free time, Stewart was an avid runner. She frequently posted photos from road races on social media, including from the TCS New York City Marathon, which she ran in November, and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile race, which she ran last month.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Kayla Gallagher contributed to this report.

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