Election results show Jim Ferrell winning the race for mayor of Federal Way.
As of Thursday, the city’s current deputy mayor has captured 55.2 percent of the vote (5,464) compared to incumbent Mayor Skip Priest’s 44.5 percent (4,407).
This year’s race was a rematch from 2010, when Priest, a former state representative, defeated Ferrell with 52 percent of the vote to become Federal Way’s first elected mayor. Ferrell, a King County prosecutor, had successfully led a campaign in 2009 to change the city’s form of government to a “strong mayor” system.
In 2013, Ferrell ran again, this time on a platform of public safety and the slogan “We can do better.”
Throughout the campaign, and with the backing of the Federal Way Police Officers Guild, Ferrell criticized Priest’s administration for fluctuations in the city’s crime statistics, such as home burglaries and auto theft. Ferrell also argued that crime in Federal Way — and a depleted police force — was detrimental to the city’s economic health.
“The voters have clearly said public safety matters,” Ferrell told The Mirror. “We need true job growth in this city. We’ll turn Federal Way around. We’re going to shine it up like a new penny.”
The mayoral candidates stood on opposite sides of the fence in regards to the proposed Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) and the direction of development in downtown Federal Way. Priest backed the $32 million project as a potential catalyst for future development. Ferrell labeled the project as risky and has pushed for retail development at an adjacent site near the transit center.
Federal Way resident Kelly Anissipour, who attended an election night gathering at Time Out Alehouse, said Ferrell earned her vote this summer. He was the only council member who supported her family during a high-profile debate involving her daughter’s pet goats, she said. She also agrees with his stance on the PACC and public safety.
“He will make intelligent and decisive choices,” she said.
Priest has not conceded the race, and told The Mirror he was awaiting final election results. He declined further comment.
Federal Way resident Terry Thomas, who attended an election night gathering at Gino’s Bistro, said Ferrell lacks the business experience that Priest brought to the office.
“Thank God we had Skip Priest as mayor during the economic downturn,” said Thomas, who fears higher taxes under Ferrell’s leadership alongside costs associated with a city administrator, which Ferrell said he would consider hiring. “The costs in the long-term planning in the city are going to increase dramatically.”
Federal Way City Councilmember Jeanne Burbidge, who was winning her own re-election race for a fourth term Tuesday night, said she was disappointed in the direction of the mayoral race.
“Skip Priest deserves to be re-elected,” Burbidge said Tuesday.
Results will be updated daily on the King County Elections website, with final results posted Nov. 26.