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Leesa Manion defeats Jim Ferrell in race for King County prosecutor

Leesa Manion will replace Dan Satterberg as the King County prosecutor.
Credit: KING 5
Jim Ferrell and Leesa Manion.

SEATTLE — Leesa Manion has defeated Jim Ferrell in the race for King County prosecuting attorney. 

KING 5 called the race Thursday night after Manion secured a 12-point lead, creating a gap too large for Ferrell to make up.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office (KCPAO) is responsible for prosecuting all felonies in King County and all misdemeanors in unincorporated areas of King County. The office also represents the state and the county in district, superior, appeals, state and federal courts.

Manion spent 27 years as a deputy prosecutor and the last 15 years as the prosecutor's chief of staff.

Ferrell, the current Federal Way mayor, was a former senior deputy prosecutor with the office, with a total of 19 years of experience as a prosecutor.

Manion said as King County prosecutor she would aim to reduce property crime and protect victims and the vulnerable. She cited her expertise and experience with building and implementing effective crime-reduction strategies, juvenile justice reform and survivor support to KCPAO. As chief of staff Manion supervises a staff of 600 people.

Manion has also helped develop criminal justice policies and led teams of prosecutors as well as helped to lead efforts increasing support for victims of domestic violence and assault and established models for alternative sentencing.

Manion said the main message of her campaign is public safety. She also touted her experience with the KCPAO. 

"I am the only candidate who has worked with all 100% of our office, all 600 of our employees, all four of our divisions, both of our labor unions,” said Manion.

Ferrell said he ran for King County prosecutor to "return justice and accountability" to the office. He cited his experience being the mayor of Federal Way, which has 103,000 residents, and managing a staff of nearly 600 and a budget of $103 million. 

Ferrell said as an award-winning senior deputy prosecutor in King County he tried thousands of cases and tried hundreds of jury trials. Ferrell said he would utilize diversion programs to rehabilitate those who commit crime and "return people to healthy productive lives."

The top job comes with the responsibility of dealing with 4,500 unresolved felony cases that piled up during the pandemic when courtrooms shut down. 

"You've got to expand the capacity. That means probably on a temporary basis, bring in pro tem judges and retired judges and to expand the ability,” said Ferrell who added that he would triage cases and make homicides, violent crimes, and sexual assaults top priorities.

The election comes at a time when some crimes are trending higher in King County. So far the county is on track to pass the number of shots fired incidents that occurred last year. In 2021, there were 460 reported victims. Eighty-eight people were shot and killed, and 372 were injured. In 2022, there have been 424 shooting victims as of July. Twenty of those were fatal.

WATCH: KING 5's Decision 2022 playlist

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