Leesa Manion versus Jim Ferrell
Leesa Manion versus Jim Ferrell: The 2022 candidates for King County Prosecuting Attorney

This autumn, in addi­tion to vot­ing on con­gres­sion­al and leg­isla­tive elec­tions, vot­ers in King Coun­ty will have the respon­si­bil­i­ty of select­ing a new Pros­e­cut­ing Attor­ney to serve in the coun­ty’s exec­u­tive branch. Long­time incum­bent Dan Sat­ter­berg is retir­ing, after hav­ing held the post for the bet­ter part of two decades.

Two can­di­dates are run­ning to suc­ceed him: Chief of Staff Leesa Man­ion and Fed­er­al Way May­or Jim Fer­rell, who pre­vi­ous­ly worked in the office.

Our lat­est research poll, which just returned from the field and asked King Coun­ty vot­ers about their pref­er­ences in this con­test, finds that the two can­di­dates are ini­tial­ly tied, with 8% apiece and a whop­ping 83% not sure who they’d vote for.

How­ev­er, after the “not sure” vot­ers were giv­en bio­graph­i­cal high­lights of the can­di­dates, Man­ion leapt out in front with plu­ral­i­ty sup­port and a two-to-one advan­tage over Fer­rell. 41% of the “not sure” respon­dents said they’d vote for Man­ion after read­ing those bio­graph­i­cal high­lights, while 20% said they’d pick Ferrell.

36% said they still weren’t sure, and 3% said they would not vote.

In the aggre­gate, Man­ion had 41% sup­port and Fer­rell had 24% sup­port, with 33% not sure and 2% say­ing they would not vote. 

Because this an offi­cial­ly “non­par­ti­san” con­test in which only two can­di­dates filed, it isn’t on the cur­rent August Top Two bal­lot. It will only be on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot this autumn. But we decid­ed to poll it twice any­way: once this sum­mer and again this fall dur­ing the home­stretch of the elec­tion cycle, to ensure that we would have an ear­li­er set of num­bers to com­pare our autumn find­ings to.

As these sum­mer­time per­cent­ages demon­strate, nei­ther con­tender has much name ID at this junc­ture. Vot­ers sim­ply aren’t famil­iar with either of them.

Fer­rell has won elec­tions before, but not coun­ty­wide, which has a much big­ger elec­torate than the City of Fed­er­al Way, while Man­ion is a first-time candidate.

Here’s the text of the ques­tions that we asked and the answers we received:

INITIAL QUESTION: If the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion for King Coun­ty Pros­e­cut­ing Attor­ney were being held today, who would you vote for?


  • Not sure: 83%
  • Leesa Man­ion: 8%
  • Jim Fer­rell: 8%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: Here’s a short descrip­tion of the can­di­dates, excerpt­ed from the biogra­phies on their cam­paign websites.

Leesa Man­ion is the cur­rent Chief of Staff of the King Coun­ty Pros­e­cut­ing Attorney’s Office, where she has spear­head­ed projects aimed at pro­tect­ing pub­lic safe­ty, reduc­ing racial dis­pro­por­tion­al­i­ty, strength­en­ing vic­tim ser­vices, and hold­ing repeat per­pe­tra­tors account­able. She also over­sees a work­force of near­ly 600 employ­ees and an annu­al bud­get of $80 million.

Jim Fer­rell is the cur­rent May­or of Fed­er­al Way. He pre­vi­ous­ly served as a Fed­er­al Way City Coun­cilmem­ber and as a King Coun­ty Senior Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor, defend­ing vic­tims of crime and work­ing to keep our com­mu­ni­ty safe. Fer­rell began his career as a pros­e­cu­tor for the City of Ren­ton, Wash­ing­ton before mov­ing into the King Coun­ty Pros­e­cut­ing Attorney’s Office in 1998.

If you had to choose, who would you vote for?


  • Leesa Man­ion: 41%
  • Jim Fer­rell: 20%
  • Not sure: 36%
  • Would not vote: 3%


  • Leesa Man­ion: 41%
  • Jim Fer­rell: 24%
  • Not sure: 33%
  • Would not vote: 2%

Our sur­vey of 687 like­ly 2022 King Coun­ty gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers was in the field from Fri­day, July 22nd until today, Tues­day, August 1st, 2022. The poll was con­duct­ed entire­ly online for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Change Research.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the survey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll.

Antic­i­pat­ing that there would be a high num­ber of vot­ers say­ing they weren’t sure when asked about this con­test, we devel­oped a two-part ques­tion. Since the voter’s pam­phlet state­ment for the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion has not been mailed to vot­ers yet and isn’t acces­si­ble, we opt­ed to source descrip­tions of the can­di­dates from their own cam­paign web­sites, which are avail­able to voters.

This approach allowed us to pro­vide respon­dents with infor­ma­tion about the can­di­dates that is (aside from some light edit­ing) iden­ti­cal­ly word­ed to what they’d see if they went to each can­di­date’s web­site and read their About pages.

Both can­di­dates have gar­nered a lot of endorse­ments from local elect­ed offi­cials. For exam­ple, Man­ion has the back­ing of Sat­ter­berg, Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine, Seat­tle May­or Bruce Har­rell, Asses­sor John Wil­son, and a third of the King Coun­ty Coun­cil. Fer­rell, mean­while, is sup­port­ed by the likes of Issaquah May­or Mary Lou Pauly, Des Moines May­or Matt Mahoney, Auburn May­or Nan­cy Backus, Ren­ton May­or Armon­do Pavon, and King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Pete von Reich­bauer. U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith is also in Fer­rel­l’s camp.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty orga­ni­za­tions are most­ly for Man­ion, while police guilds have embraced Fer­rell. Fer­rell also has the sup­port of LiU­NA! Local 242, and the Seat­tle Build­ing Trades. Man­ion has UFCW Local 3000 and Team­sters Joint Coun­cil 28.

For those who are not reg­u­lar read­ers or sup­port­ers of our work, it’s impor­tant to know that the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute does not endorse can­di­dates, or engage in elec­tion­eer­ing for or against any can­di­date. We are not aligned with either of these Pros­e­cut­ing Attor­ney hope­fuls. We did not test any neg­a­tive mes­sages about either can­di­date in this sur­vey; the only infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed to respon­dents about them were the bio­graph­i­cal details pre­sent­ed above.

As men­tioned, this autumn, we plan to poll this con­test again and bring you one more Man­ion v. Fer­ell find­ing in advance of the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion. If you’d like to be noti­fied of when we pub­lish that and oth­er find­ings, you can sign up to be noti­fied of new Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate posts using the form to the right.

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.

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