State Representative Jessyn Farrell (D‑46th District; North Seattle, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore) announced today that she will resign from her position to focus full time on her campaign to become the next Mayor of Seattle.
Farrell’s campaign said in a news release she would elaborate on her decision tomorrow in a press conference in the University District.
A host of elected leaders who are backing Farrell will be on hand, the campaign says.
“Joining Farrell will be city, state, and local leaders supporting her campaign for mayor, including Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, State Auditor Pat McCarthy, State Representative Nicole Macri (D — Capital Hill), State Representative Mia Gregerson (D‑SeaTac), State Representative Noel Frame (D — NW Seattle), King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, and Seattle Council member Rob Johnson.”
Farrell is one of twenty-one candidates running to become the next Mayor of Seattle. Most of the hopefuls are men. Seattle has not had a female mayor since Bertha Knight Landes left office in 1928. Farrell hopes to change that, as do Cary Moon, Mary Martin, Jenny Durkan, and Nikkita Oliver, the other female candidates.
The release doesn’t say when Farrell’s resignation will become effective, but presumably, it will be effective immediately.
Farrell’s departure will leave the House Democratic caucus with only forty-nine members, which isn’t enough to pass legislation (the Constitution requires an absolute majority of fifty of ninety-eight members to pass bills).
To ensure the House Democrats aren’t left short-handed, the King County Democrats and King County Council will need to move swiftly to nominate and appoint a successor to Farrell as provided for by the Washington State Constitution.
The process will begin with a special nominating caucus called by the county party. At the caucus, elected and appointed PCOs representing precincts in the 46th will select three individuals to go forward to the King County Council. The executive board of the King County Democrats will then ratify those choices as required by party rules. Then, the King County Council will pick from among the three.
Whoever the Council chooses will take Farrell’s place and will serve out most of the rest of her term. Because Farrell is resigning after the close of filing this year, no special election will be held in 2017 in the 46th. A special election will be held next year, concurrent with the regular election at which the position is usually contested.
It is probable that the person the Council appoints will seek to remain in the position by asking voters to retain them in the 2018 elections.
The 46th District is a safe Democratic district, so Farrell’s departure will have no long term effect on the balance of power in the state House of Representatives.