State Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) announced his plans to run for mayor of Indianapolis. During a press conference Thursday, Merritt also announced former Mayor Greg Ballard will serve as chairman of his campaign committee.
In a news release, Merritt cited crime, decaying streets and fiscal challenges among the issues he hopes to address as mayor. He also criticized currently Mayor Joe Hogsett for his response to the issues.
"Our city is going in the wrong direction and we can’t afford four more years of Joe Hogsett," Merritt said. "Our murder rate continues to skyrocket. Our showcase downtown has grown more dangerous. And, we all know Mayor Joe Hogsett struggled with a sluggish, lethargic response to last winter’s destruction of our streets."
Merritt represents the 31st district in Marion and Hamilton counties. He has served in the Indiana Senate for nearly 20 years.
The Marion County Democratic Party released a statement following the news of Merritt’s candidacy. Chair Kate Sweeney Bell said, "Pure partisanship has earned Senator Merritt the support of lobbyists and extremist special interest groups, but in 2018 he lost the Marion County portions of his legislative district by nearly ten points. Indianapolis voters have rejected Senator Merritt’s extremist views in the past, and we are confident they will do it again this year."
Hogsett announced last month his plans to seek re-election. The only other declared candidates are Christopher Moore, a dump truck driver, and developer John Schmitz, both of whom are Republicans.
The mayor’s office and all 25 seats on the Indianapolis City-County Council will be on the ballot this November.