Jim Merrill grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and is a graduate of Bishop England High School.
He is a proud alumnus of the University of South Carolina from which he received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Master of Public Administration degrees.
After graduation from Carolina, Mr. Merrill worked as legislative liaison and press secretary for Congressman Floyd Spence (R-SC). He later served as Political Director of the SC Republican Party for former Chairman and current Governor Henry McMaster.
In the mid-90’s, Mr. Merrill established his public relations firm, Geechie Communications, that specialized in advertising, marketing and public relations. Geechie was later rebranded as Highline Communications and maintains an extensive political, business and industrial clientele.
In 2000, Mr. Merrill was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and in 2004 at the age of 37 he was named Majority Leader. During his time in office, he served on the Agriculture Committee, Judiciary Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee until his departure in 2017.
While in the General Assembly, Mr. Merrill was Chairman of the Higher Education sub-committee, Chairman of the Pension Reform Committee, and a member of the State Ports Oversight Committee. Mr. Merrill also played an extensive role with writing the state’s property tax reform legislation, re-organizing the State Ports Authority, restructuring SC State University and has served on numerous state budget and legislative conference committees.
In 2016, Mr. Merrill served as South Carolina State Director for the Donald Trump for President campaign. In that capacity he managed staff, developed and implemented campaign strategy, designed advertising, and coordinated state and national media on a political campaign that led to the election of the President of the United States.
Mr. Merrill is married to Noel Gaillard and they have three daughters, Delaney, Haley and Darby. Delaney and Haley attend the University of South Carolina, and Darby is a student at Bishop England High School. They reside on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina.