The Mirror

Reporter For The Federalist Dies From Sudden, Severe Illness


The call for prayers for Bre Payton, a staff writer for The Federalist, came steadily throughout the last 48 hours. Unfortunately, she died Friday afternoon in San Diego. She was 26.

Payton went to work for The Federalist in 2015.

“Thank you everyone for your prayers,” wrote Morgan Murtaugh, a U.S. congressional candidate who lost in 2018. “It is with a heavy heart that I type this. Unfortunately Bre has passed. Please send prayers to her family. Rest in paradise you beautiful soul.”

According to a post on, this is what happened to her. The “friend” in the account below is Murtaugh.

“Around 8:30 this morning, December 27th, Bre’s friend went into her room and found her unresponsive and barely breathing. She immediately called 911 and Bre was taken to the hospital where she was admitted to the ICU, sedated & intubated, and doctors began working up a diagnosis. After a CT scan and hours of testing, they have determined she has the H1N1 flu and possibly meningitis. The doctors are concerned that her neurological signs are not great at this point and have informed us the next 24-48 hours are going to be critical for her. 

George is in the hospital with her in San Diego and at this time we’re just asking that you lift Bre up in prayer and ask for a healing miracle and a full recovery.

Everyone in the family is overwhelmed at this turn of events and is focusing all their attention on blanketing Bre in prayer and love. The outpouring of support the entire Payton family has received since Bre’s hospitalization has been amazing and this site will be updated as often as possible so they can continue to focus their attention and love on Bre’s recovery while still having a place to see all the well wishes and prayers from everyone.  We cannot wait for Bre to be able to see how much love and support she had during this fight when she’s out of the hospital and on the road to recovery!”

On Friday, The Federalist‘s Publisher Ben Domenech spread the word asking for prayer, as did his wife, ABC “The View” co-host Meghan McCain.  “I am asking you all to pray this morning for our own @Bre_payton who is battling a horrible and sudden medical condition,” he wrote on Twitter.

WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan replied on social media, “Prayers up.”

McCain’s co-host Abby Huntsman also expressed the urgency for prayer.

“Please pray for beautiful Bre!” she tweeted. “Life is so precious.”

“Ben and I are absolutely gutted and horrified by this news,” McCain wrote Friday afternoon on Twitter. “Our prayers for @Bre_payton and her family. We are less without her – in every possible way. A wonderful, fearless, vibrant, intelligent young woman. Sending prayers to all of her family and friends during this darkness.”

In an obituary, The Federalist staff wrote, “Bre brightened the lives of everyone around her. She was joyful, hard-working, and compassionate, and she leaves behind friends and colleagues for whom she brought nothing but sweetness and light.”

Less than two weeks ago, according to Payton’s Instagram account, she was hanging out like a normal twentysomething at Exiles Bar in Washington.



Our deepest condolences to Payton’s family and to her friends at The Federalist.