An obituary in The Federalist called Payton “joyful, hard-working, and compassionate.” It said she had a deep Christian faith.
In a tweet, Meghan McCain, daughter of late Sen. John McCain, called Payton “a wonderful, fearless, vibrant, intelligent young woman.”
The Federalist said Payton received a journalism degree in 2015 from Patrick Henry College in Virginia and joined The Federalist that April. She later appeared as a guest commentator on the Fox News Channel and One America News Network.
Payton was survived by her parents, George and Cindy; siblings James, Jack, Christina and Cheekie; and boyfriend Ryan Colby, according to The Federalist.