'He wanted to be governor.' Democratic strategist who died in boating accident had big dreams

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
NC political strategist Conen Morgan remembered
Well-known democratic political consultant Conen Morgan was killed Sunday in a boating accident.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- "He was never a nonfactor."

A well-known democratic political consultant was killed Sunday in a boating accident.

Cape Lookout National Seashore confirmed that the incident happened Sunday, May 28th in the ocean south of Shackleford Banks. It involved three individuals who had rented a boat.

After the accident occurred, the three ejected passengers made it to Shackleford Banks. Upon reaching the beach, one male victim in his mid-forties collapsed around the wave line.

The victim has been identified as 42-year-old Conen Morgan.

Those who knew and loved him call his death an unimaginable loss.

"Conen Morgan was just a giant among us," said Durham Mayor Pro-Tem Mark-Anthony Middleton. "He was never a nonfactor. You either rejoiced because he was with you or worried because he wasn't."

Many believe Morgan has already left quite the legacy on the North Carolina political landscape. He worked on democratic political campaigns for both Middleton and Durham County district attorney Satana Deberry.

"My initial campaign manager ghosted me. Somebody referred me to Conen. In addition to becoming my campaign consultant, he became a trusted advisor and really good friend," she said. "I could see him in the future providing advice to presidents."

He worked alongside Dr. Kimberly Hardy for several years. She is the second vice chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

"He wanted to be governor of North Carolina. I don't know how many people he told that to, but he told it to me multiple times," she said. "A lot of us, myself included would not be where we are if it weren't for him."

"Rising star."

Friends tell ABC11 that Morgan loved three things: his wife, mother and being a 30-year volunteer with the North Carolina Science Olympiad.

"I'm humbled by all that he accomplished in such a short period of time. We're going to carry on his legacy. Well done, Conen," said Jason Painter with the North Carolina Science Olympiad.

Tributes continue to pour in as the investigation into Morgan's death is ongoing.

"Rising star is a term we often hear but this is a person who the term was invented for. Conen Morgan was only scratching the service for who he wanted to be," said Middleton.

Morgan graduated from Garner High School and from N.C. State University.

On Memorial Day after learning of his death, Fellow Democrats Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein also paid tribute to Morgan on social media.