Jake Brewer, Husband to Mary Katharine, Killed in Charity Bike Ride

Jake Brewer was killed yesterday afternoon while participating in a bicycle ride to raise money to fight cancer. He leaves behind his wife, the former Mary Katharine Hamm, their daughter Georgia, and another child on the way. He was 34.

My heart goes out to Mary Katharine, who I’ve known since attending my first Conservative Political Action Conference in 2005. She’s a sweet lady and this is a devastating loss.

Update (Doug Mataconis): Mary Katharine posted the following on Instagram this morning:

We lost our Jake yesterday, and I lost part of my heart and the father of my sweet babies. I don’t have to tell most of you how wonderful he was. It was self-evident. His life was his testimony, and it was powerful and tender and fierce, with an ever-present twinkle in the eye. I will miss him forever, even more than I can know right now. No arms can be her father’s, but my daughter is surrounded by her very favorite people and all the hugs she could imagine. This will change us, but with prayer and love and the strength that is their companion, we can hope our heartache is not in vain– that it will change us and the world in beautiful ways, just as he did. If that sounds too optimistic at this time, it’s because it is. But there was no thought too optimistic for Jake, so take it and run with it. I will strive and pray not to feel I was cheated of many years with him, but cherish the gift of the years I had. In a life where nothing is guaranteed, Jake made the absolute, ever-lovin’ most of his time with all of us. This is a family picture we took a couple weeks ago. It was taken because Jake, as always, was ready with a camera and his immense talent. All four members of our little, growing family are in it. I can never be without him because these babies are half him. They are made of some of the strongest, kindest stuff God had to offer this world. Please pray that he can see us and we’ll all make him proud. God, I love him. Psalm 34:18, Philippians 1:3

A photo posted by Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammertime) on

I too had met Mary Katherine at several of the CPAC conference that I attended over the years, and also interviewed her earlier this summer in connection with the new book she had written with Guy Benson. There’s really so little one can say in a situation like this other than that I extend my sincerest condolences to her and her family.

Update #2 (Doug Mataconis): For those so inclined, friends of Mary Katherine and Jake have set up a GoFundMe campaign intended to help with college and other expenses for their children in the future. Within 24 hours, the campaign had already raised $200,000.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Andre Kenji says:

    I don´t agree with her on many things, but I feel sorry for her. I hope that she and her daughter manages to deal with this devastating loss.

  2. ernieyeball says:

    Rest In Peace Jake. May your family Live In Peace.

  3. PJ says:

    Statement by the President on the Passing of White House Staffer Jake Brewer:

    I am heartbroken at the tragic loss of one of my advisors, Jake Brewer. We set out to recruit the best of the best to join their government and help us harness the power of technology and data to innovate new solutions for the 21st century. Simply put, Jake was one of the best. Armed with a brilliant mind, a big heart, and an insatiable desire to give back, Jake devoted his life to empowering people and making government work better for them. He worked to give citizens a louder voice in our society. He engaged our striving immigrants. He pushed for more transparency in our democracy. And he sought to expand opportunity for all. I’ve often said that today’s younger generation is smarter, more determined, and more capable of making a difference than I was as a young man. Jake was proof of that. Michelle and I are praying for all of Jake’s family and his many friends, most of all his wife, Mary Katharine Ham, their daughter, Georgia, and their growing family. They’ll always have a family here at the White House.

    His bio from Personal Democracy Media:

    Over the last decade, Jake has been generally obsessed with solving critical social problems at scale – though no problem more so than making citizens’ voices have real impact in executive offices and the halls of government.

    Today, Jake leads the External Affairs team at Change.org with the aim to remake the relationship between decision-makers (e.g. government or corporate leaders) and the 60 million Change.org users around the world impacted by their decisions. It’s time for advocacy to allow citizens to work with decision makers, not just at them.

    Jake also serves as co-founder and board chair of Define American with Jose Antonio Vargas, where their work has included reframing the narrative of the American immigration debate in media and culture – including the cover of TIME magazine and the recently released CNN Films documentary “Documented.” Some of his other work has included leading the engagement division of the Sunlight Foundation, launching a first-of-its-kind White House initiative on Veteran employment with Code for America, helping create US Ignite – a national “gigabit” initiative to transform healthcare, education, transportation and more through next-generation Internet applications – and designing the national Civic Data Challenge, helping bring critical “civic health” data to civic decision-makers in ways they can actually use it.

    Outside the office, Jake is a competitive triathlete, a widely published photographer, and serves in a variety of advisory and board roles with organizations building healthier democracy.


  4. al-Ameda says:

    This is very sad in so many ways. I wish Mary Katherine peace and peace of mind in the days and years to come.

  5. Franklin says:

    Terrible to hear. With three children around my house, it really hits me when I hear about people leaving young kids behind.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    My condolences to the family. I know how devastating the unexpected loss of a parent can be. R.I.P.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    My condolences to his family.

    his bicycle went out of control at a sharp curve on Old Frederick Road. It crossed the double yellow line and collided with an oncoming vehicle

    And let’s not forget the person driving the car…who now has to live with this for the rest of their lives.

  8. Larry says:

    @Andre Kenji: did you really have to say that you do not agree with some of her views?

  9. Carol says:

    @Larry: That’s nothing. You should see the thread at Hot Air, where Mary Katherine sometimes appears. The fact that her late husband was an Obama staffer and that a campaign was set up for MK and her family on the “anti-Christian” site Go Fund Me brought out the trolls. Positively toxic.