Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 200


Phillip Leroy Merrill was born in Portland, Maine on November 19, 1945, and raised in Cumberland, Maine. He was raised in a fairly democratic family and was interested in politics in high school, attended town meetings, debated, and participated in the first youth senate program, where he shadowed Edmund S. Muskie. He attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine and double majored in History and Political Science. He worked on Gene McCarthy’s and Bobby Kennedy’s campaigns while in college. After graduating, he attended the University of Maine School of Law and became a state legislator from Portland, Maine. Merrill was asked to research the Indian Land claim issue for Muskie. In 1978, Merrill ran against Brennan in the Democratic primary for governor of Maine. He ran in the Democratic primary for Congress in 1982, but lost to John Kerry. He also ran Joe Brennan’s campaign for Congress in 1994 and 1996. At the time of this interview he lived in Appleton, Maine.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: 1969-1972 presidential campaign; 1976 senate campaign; Maine legislature 1974; community history of Cumberland, Maine; Sinclair Act; Hearst Foundation Senate Youth Program; fartless beans story; Big Box voting; Monk’s debate challenge and Muskie’s counter offer (campaign tactics); Louis Jalbert from campaign; Maine Indian Land Claims case; Maine gubernational election of 1974; Potato Blossom Festival; Muskie’s on the Vietnam War; Merrill working for Kennedy in 1968; and anti-Catholic prejudice in Maine.

Use Restrictions

Copyright Bates College. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.