The New York State Assembly could see a fresh new conservative face after the 2018 election.
Morgan Zegers, a 21-year-old Republican native of Malta, N.Y., and student at American University in Washington, D.C., is looking to bring a conservative local voice from the 113th District to the capitol in Albany. If she wins, she would become the youngest person ever elected to the New York State Assembly, a distinction currently held by Nily Rozic, who was elected at age 25 in 2012 to represent the 25th District.
The youthful Zegers promises to champion old-school conservative policy priorities and reclaim her district for the Republicans, who dominated the seat for a century until the 2014 election of Democrat Carrie Woerner. In 2016, Woerner was re-elected with 56 percent of vote. While Woerner may have the advantages of both incumbency and experience, 2016 showed that experience isn’t the only thing that decides elections. She has received candidate training from the nonpartisan group VoteRunLead.
Zegers, the granddaughter of a Vietnam war veteran and daughter of an Iraq war veteran, says that, as assemblywoman, she would focus on veteran affairs as well as repeal gun restrictions put in place by the SAFE Act. She would advocate for lower taxes, funneling that money back to the struggling upstate economy, and for policies that create jobs and lower the cost of living. And she would fight state regulations that she says are forcing long-term farmers to shut off their tractors and shut down.
As her campaign website sums it up: “Morgan’s goal is to get the government off of your back and out of your pocket.”
Zegers has said that she was inspired to run for the legislature by Elise Stefanik, who at age 30 in 2014 became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Zegers interned for Stefanik during two stints and told the local news that watching another young woman from her county run for office and win showed her that she could do it, too.
She does not view her young age or inexperience as a disadvantage, but rather as offering a different perspective. She doesn’t want to be a career politician. After serving a few terms, Zegers says she plans return to her hometown to work alongside her father at their small financial-services business.
The Latest on the Campaign
November 7, 2018:
A surge of women candidates this year resulted in record numbers of women securing political office. We saw it all — wins, losses and unclear outcomes — in our Running Women project. Read the full story.
Morgan Zegers fell short in her bid to join the state Assembly, losing to an incumbent Democratic woman, Carrie Woerner.
November 1, 2018:
In New Online Video Series, Zegers Runs to Win Over Voters
By Jenna Miller
Morgan Zegers wears her signature red flannel shirt and blue jeans, barley avoiding the hoof of a cow she’s trying to milk at a town’s county fair that she’s attending to stump for votes.
“I see a lot of women explaining that they’re running because we need women in office, and I think that’s the wrong way to do it,” The Republican candidate for New York State Assembly says during Episode 1 of Vice News’ new four-part web series called “She’s Running.” “We can be women and also run for office because we have serious issues in our community.”
Zegers is being featured in the Vice series along with three other memorable first-time women candidates running in this “year of the woman.” The first of the four episodes premiered on Monday Oct. 29. The final episode will be released after Election Day.
Zegers’ candidacy is notable because, at 21, she could become the youngest person ever elected into the state Assembly. “I feel patronized all the time, especially by people who are not giving me the benefit of the doubt,” she says in the video.
Throughout the series, the film crew follows Zegers and the other candidates as they attend protests, fundraise and go on talk shows. At one point, she was filmed Skyping a live interview with BBC World News while wearing a professional, white blazer paired with pink pajama pants, since the camera only captured her torso.
As Zegers works to get her name out there and secure more votes, she runs from house to house promoting herself and her campaign. “I used to just walk, and then I realized I could just achieve more doors every night if I just ran,” she says.
The Republican is expected to lose the race to her Democratic opponent. “A lot of people say this is your race to lose,” Zegers says. “To hear that, it’s like okay, don’t mess this up.”
September 14, 2018:
Zegers Advances to the General Election
Republican Morgan Zegers, who ran unopposed for the GOP nomination to represent the 113th Assembly District in the state of New York, is officially moving on to the general election, following Thursday’s primary.
On Nov. 6, she will face incumbent Democrat Carrie Woerner, who won the seat in 2014.
Zegers has been running as a pro-business, anti-corruption and anti-tax conservative for the seat representing the Upstate counties of Saratoga and Washington. On primary day, she visited a local moving business to hear “about the ways a pro-business NYS can help their business (and hiring potential) grow.”
In late August, Zegers signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” from the Americans for Tax Reform, a promise to never raise taxes signed by many Republican lawmakers spearheaded by Grover Norquist. “We have some of the highest income and property taxes in the nation, and I think everyone would agree that we can spend our money better than Albany politicians can,” Zegers said in a statement.
September 3, 2018:
A Labor Day Message From a Hardworking Business Owner Candidate
July 24, 2018:
Ignoring Democratic Opponent, Zegers Runs Against Gov. Cuomo
Morgan Zegers aims to reclaim an Upstate seat in the New York State Assembly for the Republicans, but look at her busy social media feeds and you might think her opponent is Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Zegers has frequently faulted Cuomo for corruption that has taken place during his administration as well as high tax rates, which she says have made New York “one of the most expensive states to live in.”
Indeed, throughout her campaign, Zegers has criticized Cuomo, who is not popular in her part of the state. According to an April poll from Marist, 64 percent of Upstate voters think it is time for a new governor, while only 37 percent think he should be re-elected. As such, the candidate may believe her best strategy is to run as a legislator who would be a check on the governor.
Meanwhile, Zegers’ Democratic opponent, incumbent Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, has hardly received a mention. Though Zegers has named Woerner as her opponent in a few posts, she has only addressed the assemblywoman once across her social media channels — and in a post that denounced Cuomo as well.
When Democrat Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, was charged with corruption, Zegers wrote in a Facebook post that Woerner, who helped vote Silver in as speaker, was a “Machine Democrat” who will “quietly acquiesce to the demands of Party bosses, no matter the damage to our State.”
Meanwhile, Zegers has barated Cuomo on various occasions. In her latest blast, made in an interview with The Post-Star, she blamed the governor for 1 million New York citizens moving out of the state while he has been in office.
While over 1 million people did leave New York between 2010 and 2018, immigration from abroad and a birth rate that was higher than the death rate led to a population increase of roughly half a million during the time period, The Post-Star reported in a follow up article.
In response, Zegers pointed out that The Post-Star’s fact checking did not repudiate her original statement and argued that the publication’s article “misleads readers and takes attention away from this very serious issue,” in a Facebook post. She stood by her view that Cuomo’s “policies are ruining our economy and forcing everyone to move out.”
Over the past few weeks, Zegers has turned up the heat on Cuomo. She blamed the governor for bid-rigging by high ranking members of his administration and improper use of taxpayer-funded resources for campaigning. She also wrote a newspaper letter to the editor titled “Our Problems Have A Common Denominator: Governor Cuomo.”
“Saratoga and Washington Counties need and deserve a representative who will not only have the courage to stand up and speak out about Governor Cuomo, but also wholeheartedly support and rally votes together for much-needed ethics reform,” Zegers said.
June 11, 2018:
Zegers Goes Looking for Voters on a Sunny Sunday
February 16, 2018:
The now familiar national split over guns and gun safety was on bold display in the social media feeds of the Democratic and Republican women candidates in our 2018 project. Read the full story.
January 26, 2018:
Zegers Tapped a N.Y. GOP ‘Rising Star’
New York State Assembly candidate Morgan Zegers was named the “Rising Star” of Saratoga County by state and local Republican Party officials, Saratoga Today reports.
— Morgan Zegers (@morganzegers) January 24, 2018
Zegers was among six honorees from area counties who received the distinction at an event in the state capitol, Albany, that was attended by state Sen. George Amedore, state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb and state Sen. John DeFrancisco.
“I am thankful to the Saratoga County GOP and to the New York GOP for being a party of inclusivity and innovation,” Zegers said in a statement. “The Rising Stars from neighboring counties reaffirm my excitement for the future.”