Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fuller Asks for Chance to Run Alone

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fuller Asks for Chance to Run Alone

Article excerpt

State Rep. Jim Fuller would rather coast than run.

At least that's what the Jacksonville Republican told John

Merrett, his Democratic challenger, in suggesting he drop out of

the District 16 race.

"I'd like to see what it felt like to not have a race," Fuller

said.

Fuller, a retired Navy officer, faced a tough fight to win the

seat in 1992 from Kathy Chinoy and then a tough rematch in 1994

to keep it. Merrett, a Jacksonville attorney and former

prosecutor with lifelong roots in the district, may present

Fuller with his toughest challenge yet.

"He's whistling past the grave yard if he thinks he's talking

me out of running," Merrett said.

Both men described their conversation as cordial, and both said

they plan to talk again. Fuller said he wanted to know if

Merrett was running because he had done something Merrett didn't

like. That's not the case.

In talking over issues, Fuller said he told Merrett, "You're

saying the same things I'm saying." Fuller said that unless

Merrett just wants to be a legislator, it would be better for

them to work together on issues instead of campaigning.

"If you have the same issues, why waste a whole lot of money

and a whole lot of time campaigning?" he said.

Merrett said voters deserve a chance to see and hear the

candidates face to face.

"I don't have any desire for Mr. Fuller to get out of the

race," Merrett said.

There is a positive side of having to run another campaign for

Fuller. He said his friends have told him he will have more name

recognition for when he runs for governor.

BUILDERS PASS ON RACE: The Northeast Florida Builders

Association likes the incumbents in the area's state legislative

races, but one House member may be too hot to handle.

At the recommendation of its political action committee, the

builders association has voted to not endorse any candidate in

the House District 15 race between Rep. Willye Dennis and

challenger Anethia Bell. Both are Democrats.

The builders may be leery of endorsing Dennis while the State

Attorney's Office is investigating the Fam-Co Learning and

Development Center that she founded. …

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