Voters in the small town of Pacific dumped controversial Mayor Cy Sun on Tuesday night, according to initial results in a rare recall election.
Those favoring recall were leading by more than two-to-one in the early returns, with 836 residents voting yes and 405 voting no, according to King County Elections.
While the 1,242 counted ballots represented just 42 percent of registered Pacific voters, it was more than the number of votes cast in the 2011 mayoral election, which first gave Sun an unlikely victory.
Sun’s last day in office will be July 9, once results are certified.
His departure would end a tumultuous period in the history of Pacific, a 2.6-square-mile town of about 6,600 people just south of Auburn, on the King-Pierce County border.
Since winning with 471 votes as a write-in candidate and taking office in January 2012, Sun had forced out almost all of his department heads, including three police chiefs. He was arrested while trying to enter the city’s clerk office and had triggered some $11 million in lawsuits against the town, which has a budget of $15 million.
Supporters saw his fight as a noble one to end corruption, while opponents blasted it as the whims of a cantankerous Korean War veteran.
The recall, originally filed last August, asked voters whether two specific allegations were enough to justify recall — that Sun used police as a personal investigation squad and that he jeopardized the town’s insurance by not filling department-head vacancies.
Recall elections are rare in Washington state because they’re not allowed to go forward until a judge determines there is sufficient evidence of the allegations.
The last recall in King County came in 2004 when voters ousted a suburban sewer-district commissioner, according to King County Elections.
Statewide, the most famous recall in recent memory may be that of former Spokane Mayor Jim West, who was ousted after The Spokesman-Review reported allegations that he used his position as mayor to lure young men and that West sexually abused boys decades ago.