“[I]t’s often said that democ­ra­cy is about vot­ers choos­ing their politi­cians. But in the redis­trict­ing process, it’s politi­cians choos­ing their vot­ers. And in many ways, those deci­sions can be more impor­tant than elec­tions in some context.”

Nate Persi­ly, Beek­man Pro­fes­sor of Law and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, com­ment­ing on the impor­tance of redis­trict­ing in the Unit­ed States.

With the release of Slade Gor­ton and Tim Ceis’ con­gres­sion­al redis­trict­ing pro­pos­al yes­ter­day, par­tic­i­pants and would-be par­tic­i­pants in Wash­ing­ton’s 2012 con­gres­sion­al sweep­stakes final­ly have an idea of what the polit­i­cal land­scape is going to look like for the next decade… that is, assum­ing the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion com­pletes its work on time as required by the state Constitution.

No dis­trict has been more reshaped under Ceis and Gor­ton’s pro­pos­al than the 1st (WA-01), which is cur­rent­ly rep­re­sent­ed by Jay Inslee. Only a few months after the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion began its work, Inslee for­mal­ly launched his cam­paign for gov­er­nor, which gave the Ceis and Gor­ton the free­dom to relo­cate his district.

(By tra­di­tion, the four Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion­ers are sup­posed to avoid mov­ing incum­bents out of their cur­rent dis­tricts when redraw the lines… how­ev­er, nei­ther the Con­sti­tu­tion nor the rel­e­vant statute — Chap­ter 44.05 of the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton — requires this. Thanks to Dave Gib­ney for the clarification).

Fol­low­ing the launch of Jay Inslee’s cam­paign for gov­er­nor, sev­er­al Democ­rats declared their inten­tion to run for Con­gress to suc­ceed him, includ­ing Lau­ra Rud­er­man (who served as one of the 45th’s state rep­re­sen­ta­tives for many years before unsuc­cess­ful­ly chal­leng­ing Sam Reed for Sec­re­tary of State in 2004), Dar­cy Burn­er (who twice ran against Dave Reichert in the old WA-08, but came up short each time), Roger Good­man (one of the 45th’s two cur­rent state rep­re­sen­ta­tives), new­com­er Dar­shan Rau­ni­yar, Steve Hobbs (state sen­a­tor from the 44th), and Marko Liias (state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the 21st).

All of the afore­men­tioned can­di­dates  — with the excep­tion of Liias — have man­aged to end up in the new 1st. After think­ing things over, Liias has decid­ed to quit the con­gres­sion­al sweep­stakes and seek reelec­tion to the state Leg­is­la­ture. Here is the mes­sage he sent to his sup­port­ers ear­li­er today:

I have some tough news to share with you. I will not be con­tin­u­ing my cam­paign for Congress.

My home, and the com­mu­ni­ties that I have rep­re­sent­ed in the State Leg­is­la­ture, were moved into exist­ing con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts that already have strong rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Con­gress. The dis­trict where I’ve lived most of my life and hoped to rep­re­sent in Con­gress, the First Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, will now move east and become a large, more rur­al dis­trict that stretch­es from east of Lake Wash­ing­ton to the Cana­di­an Border.

Some have sug­gest­ed that I move to this new dis­trict and run any­way, but that is not who I am.

I start­ed this cam­paign because I believe that the mid­dle class needs strong, prin­ci­pled voic­es in Con­gress. And while 2012 will not be the year that I take our fight to Wash­ing­ton DC, that does not mean our fight is over. After tak­ing some time to con­sid­er our options, Mike and I have decid­ed that I should seek reelec­tion to the State Leg­is­la­ture where I can con­tin­ue the fight for a bud­get that pre­serves the safe­ty net, fund­ing for edu­ca­tion, real­is­tic trans­porta­tion solu­tions and full mar­riage equality.

I am proud of all that we accom­plished togeth­er in this cam­paign. In less than six months, we attract­ed sup­port from over 3,000 indi­vid­ual donors, held over a dozen house par­ties, and we have earned endorse­ments from amaz­ing com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers and com­mit­ted cit­i­zens. I could not be more grate­ful for your sup­port and encouragement.

As I look for­ward to the upcom­ing leg­isla­tive ses­sion, I know that there will be teach­ers and home care work­ers and small busi­ness own­ers that need a voice in Olympia, and that will be my task. I may ask for your help again in the weeks ahead, and I know that you will be there with me.

Thanks for everything.

All my best,

The oth­er five can­di­dates have all decid­ed to stay in the race — and most of them are wast­ing lit­tle time ask­ing for con­tri­bu­tions. They may soon be joined by Suzan Del­Bene, who chal­lenged Dave Reichert in WA-08 last year and near­ly pulled even with him in a dif­fi­cult year for Democrats.

Mean­while, Den­ny Heck, who unsuc­cess­ful­ly sought to suc­ceed Bri­an Baird as U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the old WA-03, is off and run­ning in the new WA-10… and from his announce­ment press release, it sure seems like he has the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion sewn up. Here’s an excerpt:

Heck is in a strong posi­tion to be elect­ed the first Con­gress­man from the 10th Dis­trict. He has the endorse­ments of Con­gress­man Norm Dicks in the 6th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict and Con­gress­man Adam Smith in the 9th Con­gres­sion­al District.

Heck has also been endorsed by Thurston Coun­ty lead­ers includ­ing State Sen­a­tor Karen Fras­er, State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Sam Hunt and Chris Reyk­dal, Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­ers Cathy Wolfe, San­dra Romero and Karen Valen­zuela and by Dylan Carl­son, Chair of the 22nd Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Democrats.

In Pierce Coun­ty, Heck has been endorsed by Pierce Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Pat McCarthy, 28th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Tami Green and Troy Kel­ley, 29th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Steve Kir­by and Con­nie Laden­burg, 27th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Sen­a­tor Deb­bie Regala and 27th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jean­nie Darneille and Lau­rie Jenk­ins, for­mer 25th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dawn Mor­rell and for­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and State Trea­sur­er Dan Grimm, retired Pierce Coun­ty State Sen­a­tors Rosa Franklin, Mar­i­lyn Ras­mussen, and Ken Mad­sen, and by Taco­ma May­or Mar­i­lyn Strick­land and for­mer Taco­ma May­or Bill Baars­ma. Heck has also been endorsed by Don Green and Ken Steven­son, Chairs of the 28th and 2nd Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Democrats.

Heck starts 2012 with more than $550,000 cash on hand, raised from more than 1300 indi­vid­ual dona­tions to the cam­paign. He is proud to have the sup­port of the Wash­ing­ton Machin­ists Coun­cil, Elec­tri­cal Work­ers IBEW Local 77, Pacif­ic North­west Region­al Coun­cil of Car­pen­ters, AFSCME Coun­cil 2, Labor­ers Local 252, Boil­er­mak­ers Local 502, Sheet Met­al Work­ers Union Local 66, Oper­at­ing Engi­neers 302, APWU Amer­i­can Postal Work­ers’ Union, Asbestos Work­ers Local 7, Plumbers and Pip­efit­ters, and the Wash­ing­ton State Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Trades Council.

It is not clear yet what the Demo­c­ra­t­ic field will look like in the new WA-03 or WA-08, though one Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date has been prepar­ing to chal­lenge Reichert in the lat­ter dis­trict — Karen Porter­field. Incum­bent Democ­rats Rick Larsen, Norm Dicks, Jim McDer­mott, and Adam Smith are expect­ed to seek reelec­tion in their new­ly redrawn dis­tricts, which have become more Democratic.

In east­ern Wash­ing­ton, Repub­li­cans Doc Hast­ings and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers are expect­ed to seek reelec­tion. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has recruit­ed a for­mer U.S. Marine, Jay Clough, to chal­lenge Hast­ings; how­ev­er, the par­ty does­n’t appear to have a can­di­date lined up to take on McMor­ris Rodgers.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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4 replies on “Marko Liias exits congressional sweepstakes; other WA-01 candidates stay in”

  1. Nice arti­cle, but there is one error. There is noth­ing in the law explict­ly pro­tect­ing incum­bents. It would in fact be ille­gal to cite such a cri­te­ria as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for any bound­ary placement.

    Of course, we all know that incum­bent pro­tec­tion is a major con­cern in the backroom 🙂

  2. Here we go again with one of my pre­ferred can­di­dates accept­ing an endorse­ment from some­one NO ONE should accept an endorse­ment from. In this case, from a man who sup­pos­ed­ly is too afflict­ed with alzheimers to stand up for the ills he com­mit­ted against Pierce Coun­ty, yet well enough to offer an endorse­ment.. ? VERY dis­ap­point­ing, as this means either “my” can­di­date is igno­rant to what this guy did to us, or does­n’t care what this guy did to us. Either is bad in my book.

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