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Libertarian Merced Ready to Challenge Schumer for US Senate Seat

Elana Sukert/WAER News

  This November there will be 3 candidates vying for the New York State Senate Seat currently held by Senator Chuck Schumer.  He will have to face off against Republican Wendy Long and Libertarian Alex Merced.  In the current political atmosphere, third-party candidates such as Merced see an opening for more than just the traditional 2-party campaign.

“This year’s unique.  I have to say a very big thank you to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for basically being so disliked they’ve actually opened people up to the possibility of voting differently. That’s all we need; we just need people to be a little more open to different ideas.  Then we can have discussion .  Now does that mean everyone is suddenly going to become vote Libertarian?  NO, some people might vote Green Party; some people might go Constitution Party, but the idea is at least people are opening up to saying, ‘you know what, can we do something different?’”

Merced comes from a background in finance, and marketing.  In recent months he has toured around the CNY and Upstate Region, including his current stop at the New York State Fair, to learn about the issues concerning voters from around the state.

(Libertarian Party Website)

Credit Elana Sukert/WAER News
Merced Campaign Manager Brian Waddell helps people learn about Libertarian Presidential Ticket of Gary Johnson & Bill Weld at the NY State Fair

  Merced sees the campaign as a national race. He decided to run against incumbent Chuck Schumer because of his seniority.  He views opioid use and foreign intervention as a big problem that he doesn’t notice the other candidates addressing.

“and neither of the two candidates in the senate race (Schumer and Long), or neither of the major presidential candidates, Trump and Clinton…have talked seriously, in a productive way about the drug war or foreign intervention abroad in a way that would save lives.  I tell people , ‘a vote for libertarian is not just a vote against two major parties, it’s a vote for life and death.  You’re voting for the only party seriously talking about policy interventions that would save actual lives.”

Merced, who is an active podcaster and social media user, recognizes the need for different campaign methods in approaching different voters.

We’re doing the traditional hitting-the-ground, talking to people, but at that same time we’re bringing new ideas to the table with the social media.  But I don’t just want to get a message out there, ‘Oh, look at me I’m Alex.’  I want people to really feel like they can connect with me.  I want people to know that I’m a real person.”

Merced will be at the Center of Progress Building at the New York State fair until Monday. The U.S. Senate election will be held on Tuesday, November 8th.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.