Jessyn Farrell
Jessyn Farrell participates in a panel at Jeanne Kohl-Welles' twenty-second post-election postmortem at Hales Ales in Seattle (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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.”

Jessyn Farrell
Jessyn Far­rell par­tic­i­pates in a pan­el at Jeanne Kohl-Welles’ twen­ty-sec­ond post-elec­tion post­mortem at Hales Ales in Seat­tle (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Jessyn Farrell resigning from state House to focus on Seattle mayoral campaign”

Comments are closed.