Federal Way mayor candidates raise campaign cash as primary election approaches

Federal Way's primary election is just a month away. Voters will decide which two candidates will compete in November to become the city's first elected mayor: City council members Jim Ferrell and Mike Park; current mayor Linda Kochmar, who was appointed under the city manager/city council form of government; and State Rep. Skip Priest.

Expect to see the candidates working overtime to raise more money and convince the public they are the right person for the job.

The candidates have raised varying chunks of cash to spend on their campaigns. While some candidates appear to have focused on soliciting funds from local residents, others have brought in thousands of dollars from businesses big and small. Here's a rundown.


Ferrell unofficially began campaigning last August when he helped pass the initiative that permits Federal Way residents to elect their mayor. He has brought in $34,796. He has spent $20,940.

Ferrell's donations have come primarily from local residents.

From the beginning, resident Nancy Combs has championed for Ferrell, saying she believes he is the only candidate who will listen to the public. She commends him for being a family man who is dedicated to his wife and son.

"I've watched him talk to people and say 'What is it that you want?,'" Combs said.

Combs, who is retired, has has contributed a total of $5,850 to Ferrell's campaign since February, according to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. Combs, a 50-year resident of Federal Way, said she was never into politics until she met Ferrell, whom she calls honest and ethical.

"This is not a safe city until we get Jim Ferrell," she said.


Park, who officially declared he was running March 29 when asked by The Mirror, has raised the most money of the four candidates. He has brought in $84,697 and has spent $16,407.

Many of Park's top contributors are self-employed business persons, though some money came from corporate and small businesses as well as private residents. Park's largest donation thus far came from Federal Way's Han Ah Reum Mart Incorporated, also known as H-Mart. The Asian market donated $3,000. Comfort Suites Airport Hotel in Tukwila donated $2,000 to Park's campaign.

A private resident is among Park's largest private donors. Hyun S. Roe, of Federal Way, who is self-employed in the trade business, donated $2,000 to Park's campaign. Roe said she supports Park because she is aware of him and likes that he's involved in the community, has served many years on the city council and has past experience as Federal Way's mayor.

"I think he's going to be a perfect person to be mayor," she said.

Tacoma's mayor, Marilyn Strickland, also contributed $200 to Park's campaign. She could not be reached for comment.


Kochmar announced April 12 she'd run for the mayor spot. She has raised $7,497. She has spent $4,655.

All of Kochmar's campaign donations come from residents, primarily those in Federal Way. The top contributor, Federal Way resident Dr. Alnasir Adatia, donated $350 to Kochmar's run at mayor.

Residents Veronika and James Marino have opened their home to Kochmar's campaign. Kochmar's campaign kick-off and fundraising events were held in the Marino home. James Marino said he was looking to get involved in local government and researched all the candidates when they announced their intention to run for mayor. Kochmar stood out.

"She believes she works for the people; I didn't get that from anyone else," Marino said.

Marino also supports Kochmar because he wants a mayor that has integrity and does what he or she promises, he said.

"She was the only candidate that I could find that what she said is what she did," Marino said.


Priest announced his candidacy for the mayor position April 27, and has raised $24,714 since that time. He has spent $10,170.

Top contributors to Priest's campaign include big business — insurance companies, health care companies and technology, innovation and research firms, among others. Priest's highest contribution comes from Wal-Mart. The Arkansas-based retail giant pitched $1,600 toward Priest's campaign. Other organizations donating $800 include the Affordable Housing Council, Altria Group, Biopac Systems and Washington Dental Service. Virginia-based Altria Group is the parent company of Philip Morris USA and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Biopac Systems specializes in life sciences hardware and software.

Priest also has several local contributors. Federal Way resident H. David Kaplan gave Priest $1,000. Priest is well-rounded in the business and public sector, has an attractive long-term vision for the city, inspires confidence, has a record of community involvement and understands Federal Way's public segments, Kaplan said.

"Skip has gravitas," he said. "Here's somebody with solid footing who has the knowledge, who has experience, sees the bigger picture."

Check it out

Read full public disclosures of funds contributed to each candidate's campaign at www.pdc.wa.gov.

Learn more

Learn more about the candidates at a July 19 debate, held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Federal Way High School's Little Theater, 30611 16th Ave. S.

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