Race for King County prosecutor heats up as field of candidates quickly takes shape

Jan 10, 2022, 2:24 PM
King County Prosecutor...
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg will be stepping down at the end of 2021. (Photo by Dan DeLong)
(Photo by Dan DeLong)

It’s only been a few days since King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the year, but candidates to replace him have already begun to surface.

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The first announcement came from Satterberg’s Chief of Staff Leesa Manion, who announced her candidacy on Friday. Manion has served in the King County Prosecutor’s Office for nearly three decades, having been “instrumental” in the creation of the department’s elder abuse program, according to her listing on the state Attorney General’s website. She also touts her role in funding the office’s unit that tracks reports of shots fired across the county.

Speaking to KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott, she highlighted one key difference from her predecessor in her perspective on the justice system.

“When I think about men versus women coming out of our criminal justice system, I think women reentering our society need different things,” she said.

Joining Manion in a rapidly expanding pool of candidates are King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski and Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell.

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Dembowski has served as a county councilmember since 2013, having last won reelection to his seat in 2021 by a sizable 82% to 17% margin. Over that time, he has penned legislation guaranteeing paid parental leave for county employees, while also creating the King County Youth Action Plan. He also hasn’t been without controversy, though, after facing allegations last year detailing a history of verbally abusive behavior toward female colleagues and staff members.

Ferrell has been Federal Way’s mayor since 2014, winning the office two years after he left the Republican Party to become a Democrat. More recently, he led a coalition of South King County leaders demanding action on the region’s recent increase in gun violence, citing “weakened drug laws, lack of prosecutions, and unnecessary restrictions caused by newly passed state legislation.”

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Race for King County prosecutor heats up as field of candidates quickly takes shape