According to Seattle Times chief political reporter David Postman, Rep. Fred Jarrett (R-Mercer Island), a long-time supporter of higher education announced today he is switching parties and will run for the state Senate next year in the 41st district as a Democrat. Incumbent Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-Mercer Island) has also announced his retirement, clearing the way for Jarrett to run in the primary next August.
Jarrett’s switch means that House Democrats will increase their majority from 62 to 63 out of 98 total members in the lower chamber. A moderate Republican who got his start in politics on Dan Evans gubernatorial campaign, Jarrett is in his third term in the House of Representatives and is a past Mercer Island mayor and city councilmember. He works as a project manager in Boeing’s commercial airplane division.
No word yet on possible committee assignments for Jarrett. If you want to read more about the reasons behind his party switch, here’s a link to the Postman on Politics blog.