At last, we have a map!

Dur­ing a short meet­ing of Wash­ing­ton’s four mem­ber Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion on the Capi­tol Cam­pus this morn­ing, for­mer U.S. Sen­a­tor Slade Gor­ton and for­mer Seat­tle deputy may­or Tim Ceis — who had been tasked with draw­ing new con­gres­sion­al dis­trict bound­aries on behalf of the four-mem­ber com­mis­sion — unveiled the pro­pos­al they’ve been work­ing on for the first time.

I think it’s safe to say that it is not what most peo­ple were expecting.
Proposed Congressional District Map for 2012-2021

We’ve been going over the pro­pos­al in some detail, and it is very strik­ing. Here is a pro­file and par­ti­san break­down for each district.

The new WA-01 is a swing dis­trict, not safe for either par­ty. It includes the north­ern East­side in King Coun­ty (anchored by Kirk­land and Red­mond), rur­al Sno­homish Coun­ty towns like Mon­roe, Sul­tan, and Gran­ite Falls, and rur­al Skag­it and What­com coun­ties as well. Ceis and Gor­ton claimed dur­ing their pre­sen­ta­tion that it is pos­si­bly the most even­ly divid­ed dis­trict in the Unit­ed States.

It looks like most of the can­di­dates who have been plan­ning to run in the pro­posed WA-01 will be able to run there with­out hav­ing to move.

Declared can­di­dates who are in the new WA-01:

  • Roger Good­man (Kirk­land)
  • Dar­cy Burn­er (Ames Lake/Carnation)
  • Lau­ra Rud­er­man (Kirk­land)
  • Steve Hobbs (Lake Stevens)
  • Dar­shan Rau­ni­yar (Both­ell)

Declared can­di­dates who are not in the new WA-01:

  • Marko Liias (Lives in Edmonds, which is in the pro­posed WA-07)

Repub­li­cans will like­ly field John Koster as their can­di­date. Koster, a right wing Sno­homish Coun­ty com­mis­sion­er, has run for Con­gress before. He has run against Rick Larsen twice, most recent­ly in 2010, so he has strong name recog­ni­tion across a large swath of the dis­trict. How­ev­er, he is unknown in King County.

In addi­tion, the Points com­mu­ni­ties (Medina/Clyde Hill/Hunts Point/Yarrow Point) are in the new WA-01, so Suzan Del­Bene would be able to run in that dis­trict as well. Suzan is present­ly not a declared con­gres­sion­al candidate.

The new WA-02 leans Demo­c­ra­t­ic. It could well be called “the salt­wa­ter dis­trict”. It includes Lyn­nwood, Mount­lake Ter­race, and Brier (but not Mill Creek or Both­ell, which are in the pro­posed WA-01… or Edmonds, which joins WA-07) as well as Everett, Muk­il­teo, Marysville, Whid­bey and Camano Islands, the San Juan Islands,  Stan­wood, and Belling­ham. It does not touch the Cana­di­an bor­der by land. Rick Larsen should be able to hold the new WA-02 with ease.

The new WA-03 is more friend­ly to Repub­li­cans. It is still a south­west Wash­ing­ton dis­trict, but it no longer includes urban Thurston Coun­ty. Oth­er than that change, it is most­ly the same as it was before. Van­cou­ver and Clark Coun­ty will now be the undis­put­ed pop­u­la­tion cen­ter of WA-03. We would clas­si­fy it as “lean Repub­li­can”, not safe Repub­li­can. A strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date might be able to take WA-03. But it isn’t a dis­trict that a lazy Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty can win.

The new WA-04 remains a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict. It stretch­es from the Cana­di­an bor­der to the Ore­gon bor­der, cov­er­ing Okanogan, Dou­glas, Grant, Adams, Franklin, Ben­ton, and Yaki­ma coun­ties. The two major urban areas in the dis­trict are Yaki­ma and the Tri-Cities. It no longer includes Lake Chelan, Ellens­burg, or Wenatchee (which are in WA-08, see below). We don’t fore­see Doc Hast­ings hav­ing much of a prob­lem hold­ing this district.

The new WA-05 like­wise remains a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict. It cov­ers Asotin, Garfield, Colum­bia, Whit­man, Spokane, Lin­coln, Fer­ry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille coun­ties, and part of Wal­la Wal­la Coun­ty, includ­ing the City of Wal­la Wal­la. Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers should be eas­i­ly able to hold the new WA-05.

The new WA-06 isn’t much dif­fer­ent than the old WA-06; it leans Demo­c­ra­t­ic. It is com­prised most­ly of the Olympic Penin­su­la, and takes in all of Kit­sap Coun­ty (present­ly, part of Kit­sap is in WA-01). Norm Dicks’ 2012 reelec­tion bid will like­ly be pret­ty smooth sail­ing in this new WA-06.

The new WA-07 is safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic, cen­tered on Seat­tle, like the old WA-07. But it now stretch­es into Sno­homish Coun­ty, tak­ing in Edmonds, Wood­way, and Shore­line. At its south­ern end, it includes Burien and Nor­mandy Park. Nev­er­the­less, it remains urban and lib­er­al. Jim McDer­mott should be able to hold it.

The new WA-08 is a dis­trict that leans Repub­li­can. It is more rur­al than urban or sub­ur­ban, stretch­ing across the Cas­cade Moun­tains to include Kit­ti­tas and Chelan coun­ties. There are only a few King Coun­ty cities in the new WA-08; they include Sam­mamish, Issaquah, Cov­ing­ton, Maple Val­ley, Black Dia­mond, Sno­qualmie, and North Bend, along with Algo­na and part of Kent. Major cities and towns in the east­ern part of the dis­trict are Cle Elum, Ellens­burg, Wenatchee, Leav­en­worth, Cash­mere, and Chelan.

The new WA-09 is a a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict, and the state’s first majority/minority dis­trict. It includes Seat­tle’s Rainier Val­ley, Ren­ton, Tuk­wila, SeaT­ac, Des Moines, Kent, Fed­er­al Way, and the north­ern neigh­bor­hoods of Taco­ma. It also includes New­cas­tle, Mer­cer Island, and Belle­vue. Adam Smith will have to get to know many new con­stituents, but he should be eas­i­ly able to hold this dis­trict, which is entire­ly urban and suburban.

Last, but not least, the new WA-10 is a dis­trict that leans Demo­c­ra­t­ic. It is cen­tered on Olympia, and also includes Shel­ton, Tumwa­ter, Lacey, DuPont, Steila­coom, Uni­ver­si­ty Place, and Lake­wood. Would-be U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck has already indi­cat­ed that he plans to waste no time in launch­ing a cam­paign in WA-10, but he may have some Demo­c­ra­t­ic competition.

So, in sum­ma­ry, here is what we think the break­down is:

  • There are two safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­tricts (WA-07, WA-09),
  • There are two safe Repub­li­can dis­tricts (WA-04, WA-05)
  • There are two dis­tricts that lean Repub­li­can (WA-08, WA-03)
  • There are three dis­tricts that lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic (WA-02, WA-06, WA-10),
  • There is one dis­trict that is up for grabs (WA-01).

Assum­ing Democ­rats can keep the five blue-tinged dis­tricts and take the even­ly-divid­ed WA-01, Democ­rats would have six of the state’s ten House dis­tricts. If Democ­rats could man­age to cap­ture one of the dis­tricts that leans Repub­li­can, they’d have sev­en of ten, which is prob­a­bly the best the par­ty can rea­son­ably expect to do in 2012. (WA-04 and WA-05 are unlike­ly to elect a Demo­c­rat, but WA-03 and WA-08 might). If Democ­rats ran the tables, they’d have eight seats.

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.

Adjacent posts

2 replies on “Slade Gorton, Tim Ceis unveil proposed congressional district map for 2012–2021”

  1. “The new WA-07 is safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic, cen­tered on Seat­tle, like the old WA-07. But it now stretch­es into Sno­homish Coun­ty, tak­ing in Edmonds, Wood­way, and Shoreline.”

    Shore­line is in King County.

Comments are closed.