Republican Jim Merritt, a state senator for nearly three decades, is stepping into the Indianapolis mayor’s race to take on incumbent Democrat Joe Hogsett this fall. Merritt, 59, who formally announced his campaign Thursday afternoon, told IBJ he was running for mayor because he “loves my city,” and is concerned about the city’s high number of murders and “rampant homelessness.” “I’ll be proposing bold solutions to our challenges,” said Merritt, who has represented the Indiana Senate’s 31st District since 1990. “They patch, we plan.” Merritt . . .