Leesa Manion declared victory today in the 2022 race for King County Prosecuting Attorney, accepting the congratulations of her vanquished opponent, Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, and pledging to get to work on behalf of the people of the state’s largest jurisdiction, home to more than two million people.
“I am honored to have earned the trust of King County voters,” said Manion.
“I am looking forward to serving as your next King County Prosecuting Attorney and want to thank Mayor Jim Ferrell for calling to congratulate me. I am committed to working with leaders throughout King County to ensure that all of our communities are safe and supported and to build a fair and transparent justice system that protects public safety and promotes racial equity.”
“This afternoon, I called Leesa Manion to congratulate her on her historic election as King County Prosecuting Attorney,” said Ferrell in a statement.
“This was a spirited and hard fought campaign and I am incredibly thankful to my loving family, friends, and supporters who put in the work to carry our message to every corner of King County. The people have spoken and I wish Leesa success as she takes on the serious challenges facing our entire region.”
Manion’s campaign was backed by the King County Democrats and over a dozen legislative district party organizations along with King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, The Stranger, and a large number of progressive organizations. Manion is outgoing Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg’s Chief of Staff and has many years of experience working in the office.
Ferrell argued that Manion didn’t have the right kind of experience needed to be a successful Prosecuting Attorney, a critique that was loudly echoed by The Seattle Times when it endorsed him. Though claiming to be a Democrat, Ferrell sought and welcomed the support of Republicans for his campaign.
Ferrell’s appearance on Rantz’s show was illuminating. It showed that part of Ferrell’s strategy was to get Republican voters enthused about his candidacy.
But King County is a very Democratic, progressive jurisdiction, and most of its voters want to be represented by leaders who share their values of empathy, mutual responsibility, and integrity. Going on right wing talk radio and making false statements about a progressive organization’s work seemed to us to be a very counterproductive move for a candidate trying to win in King County.
The Stranger’s Will Casey has had some of the best reporting this year of Ferrell’s campaign, filing stories on Ferrell’s symbolic redundant ban on smoking fentanyl and his attacks on Restorative Community Pathways (RCP, which is a pre-filing diversion program for young first-time offenders). The Stranger endorsed Manion, writing of Ferrell: “He’s simply so deeply embedded in the status quo that he can’t seem to grasp that the policies he’s pushing will lead to even worse overcrowding at our (expletive) jails and, in turn, even more crime.”
Real Change’s Guy Oron also published a revealing interview with Ferrell in which he was challenged on many of the positions he’s taken as part of his campaign.
An independent expenditure operated by a committee calling itself “Families for a Safer King County” and funded by the Washington Association of Realtors, Steve Gordon, Sabey Corporation, Washington Federal Bank, and Homestreet Bank sent out mailers to boost Ferrell. One mailer that went out in late October touted Ferrell’s Seattle Times endorsement and claimed that he would eliminate the “backlog of felony cases” and “close the revolving door for career criminals.”
Manion campaigned with the enthusiastic support of former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, who joined Ariana Orford and Brad Blackburn to offer endorsement testimonials in a thirty second spot created to summarize her campaign themes.
NPI’s final preelection poll, a countywide survey of likely 2022 voters in King County, found Manion just one point ahead of Ferrell in the aggregate — a virtual tie. However, as the post announcing that finding detailed and explained, the poll found Manion had a lead greater than the modeled margin of error among voters who had already cast their ballots, which was telling. Ferrell led among voters who had not yet voted, but not sure voters gravitated more to Manion than to his candidacy when prompted to make a choice, which was also telling.
The returns in every countywide contest we polled — King County Prosecuting Attorney, King County Charter Amendment 1, and King County Proposition 1 — are in each case closer to the numbers from the subset of respondents who had already voted rather than the aggregate numbers, which makes sense, because those voters were self-reporting where they came down on these important questions, rather than telling us what they were thinking of doing.
In a “nonpartisan” race with an opponent who also identified as a Democrat, Manion needed to make sure that King County voters knew that she was the most progressive and most qualified choice. The election results demonstrate that she was successful in getting that message out. We should have some precinct-level data soon to show where in the county her and Ferrell’s support came from.
Our polling indicated Manion led in Seattle and on the Eastside, and that’s probably where many of the votes that she received were cast.
NPI congratulates Leesa Manion on being chosen by voters to serve in this important post. When Manion is next up, in 2026, she will get to run for reelection along with several other county officials, owing to the successful passage of King County Charter Amendment 1, which will align all elections for county positions in even-numbered midterm and presidential election years like this one.