Ferrell way ahead in council money race



Win or lose in the general election Nov. 4, Jim Ferrell will likely run the most expensive campaign for Federal Way City Council.

Ferrell, with about $30,000 more than her in campaign contributions, has outspent his opponent, Councilwoman Mary Gates, by a margin of 3 to 1 with a little more than one week to go in the campaign.

The Ferrell campaign has received about $49,000 and spent $45,000-plus, treasurer Ed Opstad said Thursday.

Gates, a 13-year incumbent, has contributions of $19,897 and expenditures of $15,629, according to Michael Gintz, her campaign treasurer.

Ferrell anticipated his campaign outspending Gates’ in order to help offset her greater familiarity with Federal Way voters and to attract new voters to his side.

That effort has made Ferrell one of the higher-spending candidates for city council anywhere in Washington this election. Of 244 such candidates statewide, only 16 have raised more money than Ferrell. The latter number includes five candidates for Seattle City Council whose warchests each exceed $100,000, with one at $209,833. Four other Seattle contenders are between $34,000 and $98,000, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.

In Tacoma, five council candidates have raised between $30,000 and $57,000.

In reports on file with the PDC, $9,500 for Ferrell’s campaign has come from Jerry Jackson, owner of Coldwell Banker All-American. Another large contributor, at $3,500, is Six Flags, operator of Enchanted Village and Wild Waves

Gates’ largest single donor, according to the PDC, is Robert Valasco, a physician ($2,000).

Judy Turpin, Gates’ campaign manager, said their “entirely volunteer” campaign has gotten “a lot of mileage” out of donors’ money.

“We have developed a fairly careful spending plan,” she said. Advertising in newspapers is one of the largest expenses.

Some of the Ferrell camp’s heaviest spending has been on mailing his campaign information to voters.

Gates and Ferrell are waging the only council contest in Federal Way. Three council incumbents –– Michael Park, Dean McColgan and Jack Dovey –– are unopposed.

Generally, all political candidates send reports on their campaign finances at various intervals of their races to the PDC, which monitors the state’s campaign disclosure laws.

Two Federal Way School Board candidates –– Bob Millen and Don Putman, who are running for Position 5 –– are exempt from regular reporting because they filed statements that they won’t spend more than $3,500 or accept an aggregate campaign contribution of more than $300 from any single source.

Board member Charles Hoff and his challenger for Position 2, Suzanne Smith, are reporting their campaign finances. Hoff raised $1,540 and spent $1,195 through Sept. 30, and Smith received $780 and spent $131 as of Oct. 14, according to the PDC.

In Des Moines City Council races, incumbent Daniel Sherman had the biggest warchest ($17,220) and spent the most ($7,565). The respective totals of his opponent, Jeannette Burrage, were $3,930 and $2,922 through Oct. 14. Another incumbent, Robert Sheckler ($7,050 raised, $5,116 as of Sept. 30), also is outfinancing his foe, Rob Back ($1,790 and $971). No other candidate has raised or spent more than about $3,000.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565,

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