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Tag: Jim Merritt


Merritt withdraws from 27th District House race

Citing a need to focus on his work and family, Tacoma architect Jim Merritt said today he’s withdrawing from the race for the 27th Legislative District’s open state House seat.

“Architectural work is still very tenuous in this economy,” Merritt said during a phone call this morning. ” If I put the kind of attention that’s needed on a campaign right now … that would be sacrificial to my work. ”

Merritt launched a well-attended campaign kick-off just last week.  But while assessing the state of his campaign afterward, Merritt realized he didn’t have strong support among local Democratic office

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In a campaign surprise, Tacoma Councilwoman Lauren Walker announces for open 27th District state House seat

This is the seat being given up by Rep. Jeannie Darneille who is running for the state Senate. And until today we thought it would be a battle between Tacoma City Councilman Jake Fey and Tacoma architect Jim Merritt.

But second-term councilman Lauren Walker jumped into the race today.

Lauren Walker

“We’ve seen too many cuts to our K-12 schools, our universities, and our safety net while we’ve ignored tax breaks that have outlived their usefulness,” she said in a press release. “Frankly, it’s time for bold leadership and I’m excited to get down there and get it done.”

Fey lost the race for Pos. 1 against Laurie Jinkins two years ago and serves with Walker on the Tacoma council. Merritt lost the Tacoma mayor’s race in 2009. Darneille is giving up her House seat to seek the state Senate seat that will be open with the retirement of Sen. Debbie Regala.

Walker is the executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Washington, a job she’s held for 15 years. She is a northwest native and has lived in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood since 1990.

Here is the text of the release: Read more »


UPDATED: Former Tacoma mayoral candidate Merritt announces he’ll run for House

Former Tacoma mayoral candidate and architect Jim Merritt announced this week he’s running for the Legislature.

Jim Merritt

Merritt, who was defeated by Marilyn Strickland in a close race for Tacoma mayor in 2009, joins Tacoma City Councilman Jake Fey as the only declared candidates so far vying for the soon-to-be-vacated 27th District Position 2 House seat.

“This is something I do have a passion for – helping our community,” Merritt told me Tuesday. “And the 27th, that’s where I’m at. That’s where I grew up.  As an architect, there’s a special expertise I bring, as far as problem-solving and finding common-ground solutions that are necessary, particularly at the state level.”

Merritt said he announced his candidacy at the 27th District Democrats’ meeting on Monday. He plans to issue a press release later today (I’ll update the post with it when he does).  Merritt will file formal candidacy paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission within the next 10 days,  he added.

Merritt’s bid in the 27th is the latest political domino to fall in the wake of Sen. Debbie Regala‘s announcement that she’ll retire later this year.  Rep. Jeannie Darneille has since announced she’ll vacate her House seat to run for Regala’s Senate seat — a contest that also has drawn Tacoma trial lawyer Jack Connelly and frequent candidate/criminal defendant Robert Jesse Hill so far as candidates.

Darneille’s decision, in turn, prompted Fey to run – and now Merritt’s bid — for the 27th.  The soon-to-be redrawn legislative district includes most of Tacoma, Ruston, Fife and parts of Pierce County.

Here’s the press release on Merritt’s candidacy:

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Is Tacoma mayoral runner-up Jim Merritt running for City Council?

No, he’s not.

The longtime architect and 2009 runner-up to Marilyn Strickland dropped by The News Tribune today to spread the word that he’s finally made a decision.

“Now’s not the time,” he told me. “I’m not going to run.”

But, Merritt added with a grin: “I’m not done.”

Merritt, who after losing a tight race to Strickland two years ago, had considered running for seats coming open on the City Council this year.  The council’s District 1 race — which already is drawing a crowd of candidates — seemed the likely option, as Merritt

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Merritt: Already making city campaign plans for 2011

A day after his bid for an appointment to fill one of two open seats on the Tacoma City Council ended, the runner-up in last year’s race for mayor already has plans to run for the council in 2011.

Jim Merritt
Jim Merritt

“My goal is to do that,” architect Jim Merritt told me Thursday. “My goal is to run again. And it looks like two years is when the next opportunity is.”

Merritt said he doesn’t know yet which of three council seats coming open in 2012 (candidates will vie for those seats during the 2011 campaign) he’ll run for, but he’s certain he’s running.

The seats coming up then include the council’s Position 1 seat (representing parts of north and west Tacoma) now held by second-term Councilman Spiro Manthou, and the at-large Position 7 and 8 seats that are now vacant.

The open seats, last held by Julie Anderson and Marilyn Strickland, were vacated after each councilwoman won election to other offices in November (Strickland beat Merritt for the mayor’s job; Anderson won the county auditor’s job). As we’ve reported, the city council expects to appoint two applicants to serve out the unexpired terms for the vacant council seats — each with about two years remaining — later this month.
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Tacoma mayor’s race: Strickland prepares agenda, Merritt prepares a new campaign

Even before this evening’s ballot counts showed Marilyn Strickland expanding her lead over Jim Merritt yet again (tonight she gained 10 votes, putting her up by 1,100), both candidates recently detailed to me their plans for the aftermath of what’s now Strickland’s inevitable victory.

Marilyn Strickland
Marilyn Strickland

Today, Strickland told me of an impressive priorities’ list she’ll take with her to the mayor’s office that includes a number of economic and education initiatives.

Among other things, Strickland said she’ll seek to reduce Tacoma’s B&O taxes; look to grow the city as a science-technology hub; enhance marketing of the city as an urban college town; and appoint a mayoral task force on education to seek ways to garner more public education dollars and improve student achievement in the classroom.

“I have big plans,” Strickland said.

Meanwhile, Merritt told me during a lengthy phone call on Sunday that while he hasn’t formally conceded the race, he is under no delusions that he’ll win.

(Merritt, by the way, said he doesn’t understand the concept of concessions. “I don’t understand conceding or not conceding,” he said. “If you count the votes and it seems like there’s absolutely no question, then it’s a done deal. But I like to play the game out. That’s my competitive nature.”)

Jim Merritt
Jim Merritt

While Merritt said he expects to congratulate Strickland in the coming days (Strickland told me as of Monday afternoon, she had yet to receive his call), he’ll also undertake a new campaign: Winning an appointment to fill one of two council seats soon to be vacated in the coming weeks.
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Tacoma Mayor: Strickland’s lead widens, Merritt’s chances fade

Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland’s lead widened further in the latest ballot counts today in the race for Tacoma mayor.

She’s now up by 723 votes — that’s 354 more (almost double) her 369-vote margin from yesterday. Her lead is now 2.54 percentage points with 28,415 total votes counted.

Jim Merritt‘s chances of turning the tide appear to be fading, even though there are still likely thousands of votes to be counted.  In 2005, there were 39,000 ballots counted in the mayor’s race, meaning there could still be 10,000 votes or so to be counted in this year’s race.

But if, in

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Tacoma mayoral candidates talk about latest ballot results

Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland expressed cautious optimism this evening after learning she’d widened her lead over architect Jim Merritt.

“It’s great news,” Strickland told me a few minutes ago. “From what I understand, there are still about 10,000 votes to be counted. We remain optimistic, but this is obviously great news.”

Strickland’s lead grew by 252 after the Thursday evening ballot drop.  In all, she now leads by 369 votes — or nearly 1.6 percent of total ballots cast.

“It’s better to be on the side of building a lead than to be playing catch-up,” Strickland said.  “But with still 10,000

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