Merrick Alpert is a Connecticut businessman and politician. Before running for office himself, Alpert served as a political aide to Oklahoma Governor David Walters and Vice President Al Gore. On May 21, 2009, Alpert announced his candidacy to run against Democrat Christopher Dodd.[1] Following Dodd's announcement on January 8, 2010 that he would not seek re-election, Alpert challenged Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for the Democratic nomination.

Early life

Alpert was born August 11, 1966 in Hartford, Connecticut. He grew up in Colchester, Connecticut. As a young child his father left his family and Merrick and his brother and sister were raised in a single parent household by their mother Alma Alpert, who worked two jobs as a school teacher and baker.[2]

Alpert attended the University of Connecticut and graduated with a degree in Political Science from Trinity College in Connecticut in 1988. Alpert then attended the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C., receiving his Juris doctor in 1991.[3]

Early political career

Alpert volunteered on Senator Al Gore's 1988 bid for the presidency and he later served as an aide for Gore.[4]

In 1992 he worked for Bill Clinton's successful presidential campaign, and served as a delegate at that year's Democratic National Convention.[5] Following the election he worked for the National Health Care campaign as part of the unsuccessful Clinton health care plan of 1993, and from there would go on to work as a policy advisor for Oklahoma Governor David Walters.[6]

He would return to working for Gore during his 2000 Presidential campaign.[2]

Military career

Alpert has served as both an United States Air Force officer and a member of the Army National Guard.[3] He volunteered for the Air Force in 1998, and served in peacekeeping missions flying a special operations helicopter unit in Bosnia.[2] His service would earn him the Joint Service Commendation Medal.[7]

2010 U.S. Senate campaign

Alpert entered the race in opposition of the-then incumbent Senator Chris Dodd. In January 2010 Dodd announced he would instead not seek re-election.[8] Alpert now challenges Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal who announced his candidacy following Senator Dodd's decision to leave the race.[9]

Democratic primary debate[edit]

Alpert received little media attention prior to his first debate with Richard Blumenthal on March 1, 2010. Entering the debate he was considered a long-shot candidate, faced with the challenges of low voter recognition and poor fundraising as compared to his rival, who beat him in polls 84-4 percent.[10]

The New York Times said that the debate went Alpert's way.[11] Following it Blumenthal announced that he would not have another debate with Alpert, saying he was preoccupied with his duties as Attorney General. Alpert was troubled by this, and told the Norwich Bulletin that Blumenthal was scared to debate again.[12]

Democratic Nominating Convention[edit]

Merrick told the press on May 12 that he was being barred from attending the Democratic Nominating Convention by Blumenthal's supporters.[13] Throughout his campaign, he was refused from speaking to Democratic Town Committees because many felt Blumenthal was a clear favorite to win the seat.[14]

Alpert gained greater recognition and several delegates following revelations on Richard Blumenthal's Vietnam record. The New York Times published a news story on May 17, 2010 revealing that Blumenthal had never been in Vietnam despite statements he made suggesting he had. The Democratic party weakened its support for Blumenthal and some began considering a new candidate for the Democratic nominee.[15] reported that Alpert was making strong movement in the 3 days he had left before the Convention. Many delegates who were discouraged from supporting Merrick began to voice support for Merrick openly. Merrick told reporters proudly on May 19:

There is now going to be a movement to allow us to speak Friday at the convention. There are several people on the rules committee saying Blumenthal may not be electable, let's let Merrick Alpert speak at the convention.[16]

Personal life

Alpert lives in Mystic, Connecticut with his wife, Alexandra, whom he met during the 2000 Presidential Election when he traveled with Al Gore to California. They have three children.[12] Alpert's first book, a memoir titled Morning Sun, was released in October 2009.[17] The book details Alpert's upbringing by a single mother, as well as his experiences in politics and the military.

Alpert founded the medical software company E-Ceptionist in 1999. Following the sale of his shares in the company, he has held the position of President at Turbine Generator Maintenance and Latitude 18.[18]