Youngest congressional candidate in the nation calls San Diego home

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Youngest congressional candidate in the nation calls San Diego home

by Michael Cline, Staff Writer

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At the age of 19, republican house of representatives candidate Morgan Murtaugh began her first political internship in Congressman Brian Bilbray’s office. The staff, overwhelmed by the influx of new interns, had no other choice but to place Murtaugh in Congressman Bilbray’s personal office.

“I knew at that moment I would be here one day,” she said.

In her quest to defeat Rep. Susan Davis in the 53rd Congressional District, Murtaugh is running to distinguish herself as a candidate outside the beltway.

“I’m an outsider, and I like it that way,” Murtaugh said.

At the age of 26, she is America’s youngest candidate for Congress in 2018, and it’s fair to say her youth has led to some unique campaigning tactics. Murtaugh has discussed her campaign at concerts, tailgates and even as an employee of Postmates. Murtaugh credits Postmates with adding a human element to her candidacy, aside from the partisanship found in typical campaigning.

“My goal is to talk to as many voters as possible and to make it memorable,” she said. “I haven’t had one negative reaction (doing Postmates). The coolest part about it all is that l know they’ll tell their friends and family.”

Despite her young age, Murtaugh’s political activity dates back 11 years. She graduated from George Washington University with a degree in communications and holds a résumé with experience in both media and politics.

“If anyone wants to get into politics, I definitely recommend a communications degree,” she said.

Before announcing her candidacy, Murtaugh worked as a reporter for One America News Network. She said her time as a journalist has helped her tailor a concise message to voters.

“Media has definitely helped get straight to the point since I’m used to talking in one to two-minute soundbites,” Murtaugh said. “I had to be clear and concise with my messaging then.”

Murtaugh said her interactions with voters have heavily influenced her political positions. Murtaugh identifies homelessness as the top priority among district constituents. Given voter input, Murtaugh has since made solving the homeless crisis her number one issue.

In response to this issue, she said her goal is to create a national database to assist coordination and communication between communities, local governments and non-profit organizations.

“There is such a lack of communication at a time when we have so much technology at our fingertips,” Murtaugh said. “It’s obvious we need the next generation to step in.”

Murtaugh’s campaign website also lists marijuana legalization, tax and spending reductions and environmental protections as her primary policy concerns. Murtaugh said, as a millennial Republican, she hopes her platform of limited government in matters of economic and social policy will attract more young voters to the party.

“I’d like to take the party in a more libertarian direction,” Murtaugh said. “The Republican Party is the party of liberty. Liberty means living the life you want to live without government intervention.”

In addition to policy matters, Murtaugh has raised concerns over Rep. Davis’ time in Washington. She has criticized the senior member’s inability to author or co-sponsor substantial legislation during her tenure.

“The job of a member of Congress is to write policy and pass legislation that will be good for their districts,” she said. “The only bill Susan Davis has sponsored and passed in the past ten years renamed a post office. To me, that is very concerning.”

Murtaugh also seeks to channel her life experiences as a San Diegan to alter the pervasive culture of transactional relationships in D.C.

“The very first question anyone will ask you when you’re in D.C. is who do you work for,” she said. “People in San Diego care about who you are as a person, whereas in D.C., it’s the opposite. That is one thing I’d hope to change about the culture.”

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