A young, female 20-something is looking to upset how things are done in Washington D.C. by defeating a long-entrenched incumbent. She’s the youngest person running for Congress in 2018. She’s not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s not even a Democrat. Morgan Murtaugh is running as a Republican for Democrat Rep. Susan Davis’s seat in California’s 35th District. Davis has held the seat for 15 years.
The Federalist talked with Murtaugh about her platform and why she thinks she can turn this blue district red.
CA-53 has been blue ever since its creation in 2003. California has consistently voted for Democrats. What made you think that the district might want to shift red?
This district has been blue since its creation, yes, but that’s because the same person has held the seat since its creation. What people don’t realize is that San Diego County has consistently been a red county until only recently [when it] has begun to shift to purple. As someone who has been born and raised in this district, with family and friends on all ends of this district, who went to school, played sports, got baptized, and even had my first kiss in this district, I know it like the back of my hand.
I know the people here and I know that what we need is someone who is ready to take into consideration the wants and needs of the district over the wants and needs of special-interest groups. The truth is, in order to shift the blue tide in California we need to have the conversations everyone, especially our current leadership, avoids having. That’s what I’m doing and that’s why I think we have a good shot at winning this.
You’re a young, Latina woman running for Congress against a powerful incumbent. Your description is similar to the Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but only one of you is on Trevor Noah’s show. Why do you think that is?
I had an interview with Marie Claire earlier and they made it clear to me that the reason AOC has been getting the attention versus me is because she “already beat the incumbent,” and because according to them, she’s a shoe-in.
The sad part is, we got about the same amount of votes primary night. We turned out about the same amount of people. I’m the youngest candidate in the nation running for Congress; however, I’m on the Republican ticket, and I don’t fit the narrative. I like being the underdog, though. I have a lot to gain and nothing to lose.
A Gallup poll just said that more Democrats identify with socialism than with capitalism. Many young people are spearheading this change. How do you feel about millennials’ embrace of socialism?
This to me is so terrifying that it’s in my stump speech. I truly believe that young people who identify with socialism, a lot of them, don’t know what that really means. I say this because, labels aside, when I talk to people about my platform many identify with it. Many millennials identify with lower taxes, equal opportunity, individual liberty, and, let’s be quite frank here … no one can live that “Instagram lifestyle” with socialism.
The only way we are going to really make a difference in this scary shift in way of thought is to have conversations and explain to people what we stand for as Republicans and why we are the better choice in the long run.
You are openly campaigning on reforming Social Security, a political taboo. Why are you so outspoken on an issue that most politicians avoid?
I think that most career politicians avoid it because they are pandering to their peers, their base of voters. But the truth is, millennials are going to be the largest voting bloc by 2020 and we are the generation that are going to feel the repercussions of the inaction, of our lack of leadership, for so long now.
We are the future, but our current leadership can’t seem to get out of the past. They say they’re progressive, but their actions speak otherwise. It’s time for the next generation of leadership to step forward and clean up the mess that they made with Social Security, because right now we are paying into a system that we will never see a dime back from, and that’s not okay.
Your website does not highlight any social issues like abortion or same-sex marriage. You have said before that people “continue to vote blue based on social issues and not fiscal ones.” Do you share the same stance as the GOP on social issues? If so, why are you not actively campaigning on them?
I’m campaigning on the issues that affect people’s everyday lives here in San Diego like border security, tax reform, entitlement reform … The Supreme Court already decided on same-sex marriage, and they already decided on abortion. My personal opinions on the issues aside, it frustrates me to see Republicans continue to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to these issues.
Instead of focusing on issues we can solve to make sure that future generations can continue to live the American Dream for years to come, many Republicans want to keep fighting a fight that has already ended. If the GOP wants to avoid this blue wave, we need to campaign on the issues directly affecting our constituents and not on issues that the high court has already decided on.
You fiercely support the First Amendment and have said that you will withhold funds to public universities that silence speech. This is one of the first issues you reference on your website. Why did you choose to highlight this issue?
This is a very important issue to me because what we are seeing in D.C. is directly reflected in what we are seeing on college campuses and home. Our leadership cannot seem to have a conversation on the issues affecting our nation, instead they obstruct the other side every chance they get and the same goes for college campuses.
Groups such as Antifa are doing everything that they can to silence speech they disagree with. Our universities are supposed to be a place of diverse opinion to foster learning and growth, something we seem to have forgotten. We need to find a way to foster that same type of environment again before we lose what it truly means to be Americans.
You’re the underdog, running against a well-financed, well-established candidate. What advantages do you have over your opponent?
Heart. I have so much love for my community that there’s no doubt in my mind that we can do this. I doubt my opponent has knocked on a door in over a decade. I know she has never debated an opponent even though she’s been challenged, and I know that God is with me on this one because I’ve never been more sure of a path than the one I’m on right now. I know he has a plan, and I’m where I’m supposed to be.
You can read more about Murtaugh on her website.