A Democratic Washington

Washington voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election by a wide margin, 57.6%-40.5% (17.1%). Therefore I’ve created a map where all ten congressional districts have the same Obama percentage, that is the same margin he won statewide.

All ten districts are within 0.05% Obama pecentage and 500 population of the median.  

SSP Daily Digest: 4/7


RI-Sen: Dem Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse raised over $1 million in the first fundraising quarter, which in Rhode Island terms is a buttload. He now has $1.6 million in cash on hand, which hopefully will act as a nice deterrent to any Republican stupid enough to consider this race. You know I love concern trolling, but even I can’t work myself up to goad the GOP into this one.

TX-Sen: Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said he raised $1.1 million and threw in another $1.6 million of his own money. There are a ton of other GOP candidates, both actual and potential, in this race, so I expect this primary to be wildly expensive.


WV-Gov: Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who is seeking his current job on a more permanent basis, released an internal from the Global Strategy Group. It shows him at 36% and SoS Natalie Tennant at 22%, but the National Journal’s writeup doesn’t mention numbers for the other two or three legit Dems. The NJ also says than neither Tomblin nor Tennant have gone on the air, while Rick Thompson and John Perdue have, as we’ve mentioned previously.


IN-08: The man I like to call F.E.C. Kenobi (aka Greg Giroux) brings us yet another candidate filing. This time it’s Terry White, whom Greg describes as a “Dem lawyer/activist,” seeking to run against GOP frosh Larry Bucshon. I’m pretty sure this is him. Looks like he has a background in criminal law, so apparently not a wealthy plaintiff’s attorney (though he may be well-off).

Other Races:

IN-SoS: Today, a judge is expected to rule on whether a lawsuit challenging Republican Secretary of State Charlie White’s eligibility to serve in office can proceed. White, the guy supposed to be protecting the integrity of his state’s elections, is accused of fraudulently registering to vote.

LA-LG: Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser says he’s thinking about challenging fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne this fall. If you watched a lot of cable TV news last year during the BP oil spill, you probably saw Nungesser’s vocal complaints about the response to the crisis.


Washington: Vote-by-mail is now a legal requirement for all of Washington state. This isn’t a big deal, though, as Pierce County was the only jurisdiction which still conducted in-person voting – the rest of WA had long gone to all-mail. Notably, the legislation still allows for ballots to be postmarked on election day, which means the state will continue its frustrating tradition of seeing election results trickle in over a period of many days. (Neighboring Oregon, the other mail-only state, requires ballots to be postmarked arrive or be or turned in on election day.)

WATN?: Ex-Rep. Curt Weldon was always a sick, crazy piece of work, and we should all be thankful that Joe Sestak turned his sorry ass out of Congress. I honestly don’t think I would have ever cared enough about him to feature him in a Where Are They Now? item, except that he’s managed to show up in Libya, of all places, and has written an op-ed in the New York Times in which he calls for “engagement” with Moammar Gadhafi. Reminds me a bit of Tom DeLay saying “give peace a chance” when Slobodan Milosevic was massacring Kosovars, except I think Weldon really means it. Why do I say that? Well, hop into my time capsule and take a deep dive into the SSP archives. That amazing photo-within-a-photo shows Weldon pinning a medal on Gadhafi’s chest! Because the mastermind behind the Lockerbie bombing is exactly the sort of person an American elected official wants to be honoring. (I also encourage you to read that entire post just to see how twisted Weldon is.)

Redistricting Roundup:

Arkansas: Even though Dems control both houses of the state legislature (and the governor’s mansion), things are at an impasse. The state Senate rejected the House plan, dubbed the “Fayetteville Finger,” and adopted a different map of its own. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a very helpful page where you can mouse over each of the various proposals that are under consideration, including the new Senate map. Now some heads will have to be banged together to reach a compromise.

Delaware: Don’t laugh – mighty Delaware is starting up its redistricting process. Obviously this pertains only to the state lege, and lawmakers are accepting public comments and proposed plans through April 29th. So if you’ve worked something up in Dave’s App, email House.Redistricting@state.de.us. The lege’s ultimate deadline is in June.

Iowa: Leaders on both sides sound like they’re coming around to the new maps created by Iowa’s independent commission. The situation here reminds me of gym class in middle school. Our stereotypically sadistic teacher would ask us if we wanted to play, say, basketball – and we had to either accept the choice right there, or decide to risk taking door #2, with no chance of going back. The alternative could be dodgeball (yes!)… or it could be running laps. Faced with the possibility of doing suicide drills (that is to say, a much worse second map from the commission), Republicans and Democrats alike seem ready to play a little b-ball instead.

In any event, an advisory commission will issue recommendations on the maps by April 11th, after which the lege has three days to decide whether to accept them. If no, then the process starts all over again.

Illinois: An interesting article about an unusual tool that Dem Gov. Pat Quinn has in his arsenal, called the “amendatory veto.” It sounds like it’s a particularly fine-grained type of line-item veto, which could be used to make direct changes to any redistricting maps the legislature sends to the governor. Of course, Illinois is one of the few places where we’re large and in-charge, and it seems that Quinn has had a productive relationship with lawmakers so far, so it’s unlikely Quinn would have to use it.

Also, some SSP mapmakers have been getting love from around the Internets lately. Silver spring’s awe-inspiring map gets a nice shout-out from Chicagoist, and see our Oregon item below for another one.

Louisiana: Louisiana continues to be the most vexing state to follow. On Tuesday, the state Senate adopted a “horizontal” congressional map (full-size PDF here) that was, believe it or not, authored by a Dem. (Yes, Republicans supposedly have a majority, but the President, selected by the governor, is a Dem. This is endlessly confusing.) The Senate also rejected a plan preferred by Gov. Bobby Jindal, while the House in turn rejected the Senate’s map. Jindal threatened to veto any map that doesn’t maintain two districts based in the northern part of the state, which suggests that the Senate plan is a non-starter. So even though Republicans would appear to control the trifecta, it seems that Louisiana’s loose sense of partisan affiliation makes that mean a lot less than it would in other states.

Missouri: The GOP-controlled state House approved its new map, which essentially eliminates Dem Russ Carnahan’s 3rd CD, by a 106-53 vote. This falls three votes shy of a veto-proof margin, meaning that Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, could potentially wield veto power here. Three Republicans defected, but four African American Dem legislators sided with the GOP, apparently believing this map is good for Rep. Lacy Clay, who is black. (The Senate plan is very similar.)

Mississippi: A pretty amazing story, if true, from Cottonmouth blog:

This afternoon in a closed door meeting of Republican Senators, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant told the crowd that 5th Circuit Chief Judge Edith Jones would “take care of” legislative Republicans because Gov. Haley Barbour handled her nomination to the 5th Circuit when he was in the Reagan White House. Bryant went on to regale the caucus with his opinion that Chief Judge Jones would likely appoint Judge Leslie Southwick as the judge from the 5th Circuit, and that if that happened, “Democrats would come to us looking for a deal.”

In a letter to House Speaker Billy McCoy, Bryant denied making these statements, but his denial contained some weird language. Specifically, he said: “My point was that Democrats appoint federal judges and Republicans appoint federal judges, but all judges take an oath to decide cases fairly based on the law and the facts.” Was he honestly giving a civics 101 lesson to benighted members of his own caucus? Why discuss this kind of thing at all?

New Jersey: The first casualty of NJ’s new map is state Sen. John Girgenti (D), who earned the wrath of progressives – and a legitimate primary challenge from activist Jeff Gardner –  for his cowardly vote against marriage equality in 2009. Girgenti’s hometown was placed into a district largely belonging to another incumbent, Bob Gordon. Gardner will now run for Assembly instead.

Also of interest, Patrick Murray has some partisan breakdowns of the new districts. (Click here for PDF.)

Nevada: Republicans in Nevada, like the Dems, have now filed a redistricting lawsuit, but I’m not getting it at all. If you click through to the PDF and scroll down to the prayer for relief on page nine, all you’ll see is that they want to bar any elections from happening under current district lines. Nevada isn’t some Southern state in the 1950s, refusing to undertake redistricting, so what gives?

Oregon: Want to give your input into the Beaver State’s redistricting process? Blue Oregon has a list of public hearings. Also, Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian gives some props to SaoMagnifico’s proposed map, saying they show “it’s possible to draw maps that do a good job of following county lines while achieving a partisan result.”

Pennsylvania: PA’s state (not federal) maps are drawn by a five-member commission, whose first four members (2R, 2D) have to agree on the fifth. Pretty lulzy notion, of course, and the selection deadline has passed, so the choice will now fall to the state Supreme Court. Unfortunately, thanks to a loss a few years ago, Republicans control the court.

Texas: Another lawsuit, though this one makes a lot more sense to me. Hispanic lawmakers are suing to enjoin Rick Perry and the legislature from conducting any redistricting activities because they allege that Latinos have been undercounted by the Census, and they want those numbers corrected. I’m pessimistic about these kinds of suits succeeding, though.

Utah: State legislators are also cranking up the redistricting process here. Obviously issue #1 (and 2 and 3 and 4) will be how the new congressional map treats Dem Rep. Jim Matheson. The article doesn’t say what, if any, deadlines lawmakers face, though.

Virginia: At least some Republican legislators are hopping mad about the proposed state Senate map, and are considering filing suit to block it (dunno on what grounds). If the GOP is pissed off at this plan, isn’t that a good thing?

Redistricting Washington: Can you think like a commission?

It’s hard to tell how a nonpartisan commission will draw maps. As we’ve seen with Iowa’s first round of maps, they can make some unusual choices. For this map, I tried to hew as closely to the existing districts as possible, within reason; there are some odd territorial splits (such as WA-09 jumping across Puget Sound) that might make more sense to a local than to a East Coast resident like myself.

I tried to limit city and county splits where possible, but sometimes it was unavoidable. The biggest split is Tacoma, half of which I had to put in WA-06 and half in WA-09. I also tried to either ignore partisan data or encourage competitive districts. Thanks to the way the map is set up currently, the latter was pretty easy to accomplish; there are five districts that I would consider competitive (WA-02, 06, 08, 09, and 10).


Seattle area

WA-01 (blue) – Instead of jumping across Puget Sound, it stretches across northern King County and farther up into Smohomish. Old district: 56.2% Murray, new district: 56.5% Murray.

WA-02 (green) – Expands very slightly, picking up a little bit of Snohomish and dropping the one random descent into eastern King County. Old district: 50.5% Murray, new district: exactly 50.0% for each (the margin is 118 votes in favor of Rossi).

WA-03 (purple) – This one probably changes the most. Northern end of the district is chopped off, and it moves east to Yakima. Old district: 52.5% Rossi, new district: 55.5% Rossi.

WA-04 (red) – Moves east, losing Yakima and gaining Walla Walla. Old district: 64.4% Rossi, new district: 63.9% Rossi.

WA-05 (yellow) – Loses Walla Walla, gains bits of Franklin County. Old district: 58.6% Rossi, new district: 58.4% Rossi.

WA-06 (teal) – Drops part of Tacoma, picks up islandy parts on the west side of Puget Sound. Old district: 53.1% Murray, new district: 53.0% Murray.

WA-07 (grey) – Seattle and a bit of the suburbs south of it. Old district: 81.0% Murray, new district: 81.5% Murray.

WA-08 (light purple) – Loses Pierce County. Adds a bit of the inner Seattle-area suburbs. Old district: 50.8% Rossi, new district: 53.0% Murray.

WA-09 (sky blue) – Loses the southwestern swath of territory, picks up a bit on the northern and eastern borders. Old district: 52.8% Murray, new district: 54.1% Murray.

WA-10 (magenta) – The new seat. Most of Pierce County, all of Thurston County, and some parts south and southwest of Thurston. 50.9% Rossi.

I don’t know if anyone got drawn out of their districts, but the only incumbent that would probably be seriously miffed is Reichert. Losing Pierce County would be a blow to his re-election chances. He could always move to the new WA-10, though.

Washington Redistricting: How About a Majority-Minority District?

Here’s an interesting proposal from some Seattle-area activists: a majority-minority district in the Seattle area.

That could be done, just barely, by combining Southeast Seattle with the suburbs south of the city, where the minority population has exploded over the past decade.

The Win/Win Network, a nonprofit group, drew up the potential “majority people of color” district and plans to submit it to the Washington State Redistricting Commission, the bipartisan panel charged with redrawing the state’s political map this year.

It isn’t as convoluted-looking as you’d think, but it would violate tradition (and usual redistricting commission policy) by splitting Seattle down the middle. (You can see the map at the link.) While north Seattle — maybe the likeliest place outside of Sweden to see a Volvo-on-Volvo traffic accident — is what makes Seattle one of the whitest major cities, south Seattle is very diverse and if you add in its close-in southern suburbs, you literally get to 50.1%. Whether this actually gets forced into being is a big VRA-related puzzle, though; while recent case law (like Bartlett v. Strickland) has dealt with districts where a minority’s share doesn’t reach 50%, I’m not aware of any cases on the issue of creating minority districts where the share tops 50% but it’s a tossed salad of all possible minorities. The implications of that issue could be huge, especially for redistricting California this year.

If you haven’t seen the New York Times’ newest version of its remarkable Census map (now updated with 2010 count data to replace ’05-’09 ACS data), the Seattle example is a neat place to start, especially if you’re having trouble conceiving of the Seattle area as diverse. Go to the dot-based racial distribution map, and find Census tract 281, just north of the airport. This may actually be the most racially balanced tract in the whole nation, more so than anything in Queens or the East Bay, based on my puttering around the map: it’s 26% white, 24% black, 19% Hispanic, and 22% Asian. In fact, here’s a challenge/rainy day activity for you all: if you can find anything more balanced, let us know in comments! (Sorry, no babka.)

This opens up a can of worms in terms of what’s most “balanced,” though, depending on how many races you want to talk about. Tract 919 in Flushing, Queens, is 27% white, 33% Hispanic, and 33% Asian (but only 4% black)… or if you want to go with a 5-way split, check out Tract 9603 (Nanakuli, on the west shore of the island of Oahu), which is 12% white, 18% Hispanic, 17% Asian, 30% multiracial, and 20% Native Hawaiian! I don’t want to limit how you define “balanced,” so feel free to point out any interesting tracts that you find.

UPDATE: I’ve found at least one that seems to beat that Seattle-area tract: it’s Census tract 355108 in Antioch, California (in Contra Costa County): 25% white, 24% black, 24% Hispanic, and 20% Asian.

Choices in Washington Redistricting

At the Washington State Democratic Central Committee meeting this past January, over lunch the delegates discussed the ramifications of the addition of a 10th Congressional District in the State. The goals discussed in the meeting was to ensure that a Democrat would be elected in the new 10th. There was general recognition that the 3rd would go from Vancouver to the outskirts of Yakama (along the Columbia River).

With three districts generally accounted for (the 3rd, 4th and 5th), the main question becomes how the Puget Sound area is divided. In Washington, the redistricting law states that plans should consider electoral competition and not purposefully favor or discriminate against any political party (among all of the normal provisions).

In practice, this means that the bipartisan redistricting commission gets the sign-off by the elected representatives (encouraging little change in the composition in the district, both geographic and partisan). For 2011, this means that Representative Dicks will want a more Democratic district (especially if he loses parts of Tacoma), and Representative Reichart wants a more rural, and Republican district.

With the addition of a 10th District in Washington, the choice facing the redistricting commission is to create 6-8 safe districts (3 safe Democratic 3 safe Republican) or to create a map with 4 safe districts (2 D – 2 R) and another 4 districts that are likely Democratic. (The difference really is should Democrats want to lock in a third safe Republican district in eastern King, Pierce, and Thurston counties or draw a map that is 7-3 in most years [including 2010]).


If the goal is to create 7 Democratic (or competitive) districts west of the Cascades (creating a 7-3 [or in the worst years a 6-4] split), then the existing Representatives should be willing to trade a bit of comfort and security for the potential for more Democratic representatives from Washington.

Some basic rules for redistricting in Washington:

1) While it may be the dream of many Democrats to split Seattle, it is not going to happen. The commission respects geographic cohesiveness, and sending a spur from Seattle to a) the Olympic Peninsula, or b) to Kirkland or Bellevue is not going to happen.

2) The redistricting commission likes to create competitive districts.

3) Two and a half districts will be in Eastern Washington.




Redistricting Washington

So, 6 districts left to draw. Two districts will have their roots in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish County. Representative Larson lives in Lake Stevens, west east of Everett. However, if Representative Inslee runs for Governor, then Larson could either run in the 1st or 2nd (and could be happy either way, since he would want more of Everett anyway).

For me, the key to redistricting Washington lies with not where the new 10th District goes, but what will the 6th District go? And, what does Representative Norm Dicks want from this round of redistricting?

The current 6th District includes Bremerton, Representative Dicks' residence, most of the Olympic Peninsula, and extends into Pierce County and has to shed 37,000 people.

If Representative Dicks gets anxious and wants a district that a) resembles his current district and b) becomes more Democratic, then the Democrats lose the redistricting game (and likely all decade). Either the 10th or the 8th District will be a Solid Republican district. If he is a team player, and accepts a Democratic leaning district that has lots of new constituents, Democrats win (or have a better chance of winning). Then, the 8th and 10th will be lean Democratic seats (or better).

The following maps present two options for a 10th CD and the competitiveness of each district (again, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th stay the same).

Option 1: Dicks remains concerned about his reelection

In this scenario, the 6th CD is the entire Olympic Peninsula, the Washington Coast, and most of Cowlitz County and the cities of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey. While losing his portion of Tacoma, Dicks gains the remainder of Democratic-leaning Kitsap County, and Democratic leaning Olympia. While Dicks is secure about his reelection, the population of the state mean that a Republican-leaning district must be created.


With the Olympic Peninsula off the map, the 1st and 2nd become located entirely in Whatcom, Skagit, and Snohomish County. The 2nd adds Everett, making Larson happy. The 1st (open) becomes southwestern Snohomish counties and several King county cities – Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Redmond, Bothell and Woodinville.



Up to this point – good for the Democrats – 3 stronger seats.

South of Seattle, Representative Smith's (Tacoma) district can also be strengthened – include all of Tacoma and western Pierce County, and include the cities of Kent, Renton, Federal Way, and the other cities immediately South of Seattle not part of the 7th.


So, 4 stronger seats for the Democrats (and all geographically compact).

Now the rub. there are few Democratic areas left in the State to draw two more competitive districts (or better). The 10th ends up in Eastern King County centered around Bellevue. This is the area where Democrats have done well in 2006, 2008, and 2010.


The elusive 8th district becomes the remainder of the State – Auburn, Eastern Pierce County, Lewis County, and rural portions of Thurston County.


So, the end result of Western Washington is 1 SR seat and 4 safer Democratic seats. In essence, this is the status quo and Washington's delegation would be 6-4 for the majority of the decade (with the slim possibility of winning back the 3rd).

But Democrats could do better.

Option 2: Dicks accepts a district with more new constituents

The 6th CD includes Bremerton and other Democratic portions of Kitsap county (Bainbridge Island), Olympia and all of Thurston County, and Pacific, Wahkiakum counties (as well as Lewis County). Every county (or portion of) the county is Lean D (or better) except for Lewis County. While the District would be lean D, and potentially competitive, it would still likely be a Democratic seat the entire decade.


With 2 counties and portions of Kitsap on the Olympic Peninsula not part of the 6th, you then draw a district across the Sound to Whatcom County (via Island and San Juan Counties). The 2nd CD can be all of Snohomish (with a portion of Democratic Shoreline).



So, here we have 2 likely Democratic district and 1 safe Democratic districts.

The 8th CD becomes a Democratic leaning district by adding the King County cities of Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Tukwila, Newcastle and SeaTac. While Representative Reichert still lives in the district, he has lots of new Democratic cities to deal with.


The 9th is a Pierce County district centered around Tacoma.


Again, this is two additional lean/likely Democratic districts.

The new 10th is now exclusively an Eastern King County district.


In this scenario, each district would be competitive (at worse for the Democrats), but likely, year in and year out, sending 7 Democrats to DC.

And, did I say from the outset that the commission likes competitive districts?

To summarize:

Option 1 (max deviation 174):

3 safe Democratic seats, 3 lean/likely Democratic seats, 3 safe Republican seats, 1 likely/lean Republican seat.

Option 2 (max deviation 140):

2 safe Democratic seats, 2 safe Republican seats, 4 lean/likely Democratic seats, 1 likely/lean Republican seat.

Bonus – State Legislature Map (max deviation 590):


Snohomish County


King County


Pierce County


Thurston County


Kitsap County


Clark County


Benton County


Spokane County



By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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CO, OR, and WA: Population by CD

(Bumped – promoted by DavidNYC)

We’ve got three more states’ worth of Census data dump to look at today, and instead of a random collection today, it’s thematically consistent: the three medium-size light-blue states of the west. First off the bat is Colorado, which stays at seven seats; its target population is 718,457, up from an average of about 615K in 2000. (Remember, the “deviation” is how many seats the district will need to gain or shed in order to conform, not a raw number reflecting loss or gain. You can calculate raw gain/loss by working off the 2000 target, if you’re curious.)

District Population Deviation
CO-01 662,039 (56,418)
CO-02 733,805 15,348
CO-03 706,186 (12,271)
CO-04 725,041 6,584
CO-05 725,902 7,445
CO-06 797,813 79,356
CO-07 678,410 (40,047)
Total: 5,029,196

The redistricting solution here seems pretty simple: CO-01 (Denver proper) and CO-07 (Denver’s northern suburbs) will need to shift southward to accommodate the large growth in CO-06 (Denver’s southern suburbs), while the rest of the state stayed pretty stable. Interestingly, despite CO-07 lagging the state growth-wise, the state’s strongest Hispanic growth was in CO-07, which since 2000 went from 20% to 28% Hispanic.

Oregon stays at five seats, having just barely missed the cut for #6. Its target population is a beefy 766,215, up from about 684K in 2000.

District Population Deviation
OR-01 802,570 36,355
OR-02 769,987 3,772
OR-03 762,155 (4,060)
OR-04 739,234 (26,981)
OR-05 757,128 (9,087)
Total: 3,831,074

Several Oregon districts are going to have to shift north, where the state’s growth was centered in Portland’s western suburbs in OR-01. The smallest gains happened in OR-04, which is Eugene and the economically-hard-hit timber country to its south. OR-05, which is sandwiched between the 1st and 4th in the mid-Valley also needs to pick up population; the 5th is the state’s most Hispanic district, going from 10% to 15% Hispanic since 2000.

Finally, here’s Washington, which barely made the cut, and got its tenth seat. Its target is 672,454, up from 655K in 2010. (Interestingly, if you divided Washington by 9, you’d wind up with a lower target than Oregon, at 747,171. There’s a lot more to the reapportionment formula than that sort of purely mechanical calculation, of course, but that ought to raise a few eyebrows in Oregon.)

District Population Deviation
WA-01 739,455 67,001
WA-02 760,041 87,587
WA-03 779,348 106,894
WA-04 774,409 101,955
WA-05 723,609 51,155
WA-06 709,570 37,116
WA-07 704,225 31,771
WA-08 810,754 138,300
WA-09 723,129 50,675
Total: 6,724,540

The two main nodes of growth in Washington are WA-08 (Seattle’s eastern suburbs) and WA-03 (Vancouver, which is really Portland’s northern suburbs). However, there was almost as much growth in WA-04, east of the Cascades, which means that any new configuration is going to have two-and-a-half districts east of the Cascades, with (unlike now) one district traversing the mountains. The 4th is also by far the most Hispanic district in the state, growing from 27% to 34% Hispanic since 2000. One other interesting tidbit: in three of the state’s nine districts (1st, 7th, and 8th, all in the Seattle area) the largest non-white group isn’t African-Americans or Hispanics, but rather Asians.

More over the flip…

Finally, did you know that Census 2010 data, via American FactFinder, is available not only at the congressional district level, but also the legislative district level? Because a) I’m a Washingtonian, and b) I’m a nerd (and c), it’s not that big a project, since Washington doesn’t have separate Senate and House districts), I thought I’d also include Washington broken down by LD, in case you want a finer-grained sort on the state’s population gain. The number of districts will stay at 49, so the new target is 137,236.

District Population Deviation
LD-01 147,265 10,029
LD-02 163,707 26,471
LD-03 120,601 (16,635)
LD-04 141,254 4,018
LD-05 161,403 24,167
LD-06 141,123 3,887
LD-07 130,475 (6,761)
LD-08 149,474 12,238
LD-09 136,166 (1,070)
LD-10 134,117 (3,119)
LD-11 134,027 (3,209)
LD-12 132,531 (4,705)
LD-13 143,750 6,514
LD-14 130,478 (6,758)
LD-15 132,788 (4,448)
LD-16 154,830 17,594
LD-17 150,727 13,491
LD-18 160,083 22,847
LD-19 126,904 (10,332)
LD-20 141,029 3,793
LD-21 133,156 (4,080)
LD-22 141,695 4,459
LD-23 130,119 (7,117)
LD-24 132,679 (4,557)
LD-25 145,035 7,799
LD-26 133,755 (3,481)
LD-27 123,857 (13,379)
LD-28 119,494 (17,742)
LD-29 127,259 (9,977)
LD-30 129,998 (7,238)
LD-31 137,685 449
LD-32 122,038 (15,198)
LD-33 129,246 (7,990)
LD-34 125,055 (12,181)
LD-35 138,142 906
LD-36 133,901 (3,335)
LD-37 127,546 (9,690)
LD-38 129,624 (7,612)
LD-39 143,154 5,918
LD-40 138,925 1,689
LD-41 142,722 5,486
LD-42 146,619 9,383
LD-43 133,976 (3,260)
LD-44 156,499 19,263
LD-45 136,432 (804)
LD-46 127,849 (9,387)
LD-47 140,146 2,910
LD-48 130,423 (6,813)
LD-49 134,779 (2,457)
Total: 6,724,540

What’s that you say? You don’t have the Washington legislative district map committed to memory? And yet you call yourself a Swingnut? Well, here it is. The largest growth came in LDs 2 (eastern Pierce Co.) and 5 (eastern King Co.), which are the most exurban parts of WA-08, as well as 44 (eastern Snohomish Co.: exurban WA-02), and 18 (northern Clark Co.: exurban WA-03). The slowest growth was in LDs 3 (downtown Spokane), 28 (Lakewood and Fort Lewis, south of Tacoma), 32 (Shoreline and Edmonds, north of Seattle), 27 (downtown Tacoma), and 34 (West Seattle). (If you’re wondering what the lean of these districts is, we’ve got that, too.)

Washington Redistricting: Two compact Democratic maps

With Washington gaining a tenth congressional district this year, the general assumption is that the new seat will be a heavily Democratic seat in the Seattle suburbs, which will turn Dave Reichert’s WA-08 into a Republican leaning district. I attempted to see if there was any way to prevent this. My goal was to draw a new Democratic WA-10, make WA-08 more Democratic, and protect all the surrounding districts, especially the potentially vulnerable WA-02, and keep WA-03 competitive, if not Democratic-leaning.  My goal with the suburban Seattle seats was to keep them all around D+5, which I think is the perfect balance between keeping the seats Democratic and making sure that they aren’t too packed. I came up with two ways to do this:

one that is slightly more compact that draws 7 Democratic seats, one lean-GOP seat, and two safe GOP seats…

…and one that is slightly less compact that draws 7 Democratic seats, one tossup-to-lean-Dem seat and two safe GOP seats

The only difference between these two maps is the Southwestern part of the state and the 3rd and 6th districts. In the first map, the 3rd is a district with a pvi of somewhere between EVEN and R+3 that takes up the Vancouver area, most of Cowlitz, Skamania, and Klickitat counties (gotta love those Washington county names), the Yakama Reservation, and the Hispanic-majority areas of Yakima county. In the second map, all the areas east of Clark co that were in the third in the first map are now in the 6th, and the 3rd stretches up along the Pacific coast. This 3rd is probably about D+1 or D+2.

The rest of the state is the same in both these maps. The 6th has dropped Tacoma and gained Olympia, which makes this area look a lot neater without really changing the partisan makeup at all. The 9th is now a very compact Tacoma district. The 1st is now a district composed of the Puget sound islands, Whatcom county, and Skagit county north and west of Mt Vernon. I tried to make the 5th as Democratic as any district in Eastern Washington could be, which is not really saying much. It contains the city of Spokane, which is slightly Democratic, but not the heavily Republican surrounding areas, the college town of Pullman, the Tri-Cities area, and some surrounding areas with large Hispanic populations (the district as a whole is 25% non-white). It is still probably considerable Republican-leaning, probably with a PVI of something like R+5. The devious thing about this district is that it draws Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rogers into the same district. I expect McMorris Rogers will win the resulting primary, with the support of both the Republican “establishment” and the support of conservatives like Sarah Palin. Maybe this will convince Doc Hastings to jump into the gubernatorial primary. I haven’t heard any talk about him doing that, but it seems he could find a niche as the “true conservative” candidate. Democrats would of course love this because Doc Hastings would have no chance of winning the general election for governor.

Now on to the Seattle area:

The 2nd has swapped out some areas with the 1st, gaining the part of Snohomish Co part of the 1st and dropping some of the Northern areas. It is now probably a point or two more Democratic. The 7th has lost some heavily Democratic areas to the new 10th and gained some swingier suburban areas. It is somewhat less Democratic, but this doesn’t matter at all really. The new 10th is carved out of SW King Co, with territory taken from the 7th, 8th, and 9th districts. It contains Dave Reichert’s home in Auburn as well as some GOP-leaning areas in the eastern part of the district, but the heavily Democratic areas along the coast that make up the majority of the district’s population should make sure it has a strong Dem-lean, probably with a pvi of about D+6. Dave Reichert might be able to hold on to this district, but I think the Democratic candidate would start out with a solid advantage over Reichert given the fact that Reichert has never represented most of the district and the fact that Obama should be carrying this district with >60% of the vote. The 8th has also become more Democratic, with the loss of some GOP-leaning areas to the 10th and the gain of some heavily Democratic areas in the NW of King Co.  

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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Washington in 10 Districts or Less

As you may know if you haven’t been under a rock, Washington State will be receiving ten districts next year, up from nine this past decade. this is my effort to read the minds of the 5 men responsible for drawing those districts.

In no particular order:


District 2 (green) All four northern counties along with most of Snohomish (Rick Larsen might not quite live here, if so, minor adjustments would resolve this)

District 8 (blue-gray) I could have sworn more people lived in eastern King and Pierce. Because they don’t, this district now extends all the way to the Pacific Ocean, not my best work. Lewis County should let Reichert sleep better on election nights.

District 3 (purple) Basically a dumbbell anchored by Vancouver and Yakima. I’d have liked to add a few more rural Central Washington counties so Rep Beutler could claim she represented Hispanics other than herself but this district is only 11%.

District 6 (pink) If you know the colors of Dave’s App, you’ll noticed that I screwed up. Apparently, though he’s long represented it, Rep Dicks does not live in Tacoma. He’ll be fine here though. I had the opposite problem to Dist. 8, more people live in the Olympic than I was aware of so I had to split Grays Harbor County, nonetheless, with all of Kitsap County and the Olympia area added, Rep Dicks should be quite content.


And now to some districts I’m not ashamed of.

District 1 (blue) North suburbs. This district loses its salient across the sound and gets beautifully compact and solidly Democratic. Inslee doesn’t live here but he’s running for governor. If he doesn’t, hey he already moved once, he can do it again.

District 7 (grey) Seattle, Vashon, Mercer. Nuff said. (I think this is limited to dead girl, live boy would still get McDermott re-elected).

District 9 (teal) South and west suburbs. Contained in King County. Mr. Smith stays in Washington, DC that is.

District 10 (dark greenish something) Tacoma apparently never had its own district. That’s changed. I’m sure locals will tell me which up-and-coming local pols will want it.


District 4 The southern portion of Eastern WA. Tri-Cities, rural Yakima County, some other counties that are no doubt very important to their residents. The Doc stays in the US House.

District 5 Spokane… and some other stuff (eastern Washingtonians will begin sending me hate mail) CMR is all set.

In summary, all the incumbents should be comfortable and the new district goes to Pierce County, the second largest in the state and to the Democrats. 6-4 is actually a little generous to the GOP but hey, Dems could have taken two more if they really wanted to. e.g. beating Reichert once in 3 tries and holding WA-3.

Redistricting in Georgia and Washington

Everyone says Georgia can’t eliminate John Barrow, but I don’t really see why not.  His district isn’t VRA Protected like Sanford Bishop, so far as I know. And anyways, 4 out of 14 VRA for Georgia is better than, say, 1 out of 7 in Alabama.  

Here’s my take:


Chatham Co. only gave Obama a margin of 15,000 votes, and if you add in the two suburban counties, it is only 50-50.  That plus all the GOP rural areas combine Barrow and Kingston into a Lean/Likely GOP district. (Light Blue) 60% White

from the 51% White Barrow’s current district is

Sanford Bishop (Green) gets a 46% White district, a slight improvement.  He adds Macon, making GA-8 completely safe for Austin Scott (periwinkle), who gets a 65% White district.  

The new 1st district (Dark Blue) is 66% White and fit for someone like St. Sen John Bulloch or St Sen Jeff Chapman, who ran for Governor in 2010.

The 4th, 5th, and 13th remain similar


Phil Gingrey’s district is eliminated, but since he is pushing 70, he’ll probably just retire.

Tom Price’s 6th (Teal) isn’t going blue anytime soon.  It could be a problem around 2020, though, but the new redistricting will be approaching by then.

Rob Woodall’s 7th (Gray) has to shed quite a bit of population, now being 63% White and nearly all in Gwinnett County.  This is the district I’d worry about most going Blue in the decade, particularly if the White percentage keeps dropping.  The 22% who are Hispanic or Asian is a wild card, as many don’t vote, at least not yet.

The New 11th (Green) is 60% White, with 10% the Hispanic/Asian wild cards.  Somehow, I can find no veteran State Senators from the district, so I’m not sure about the bench.  It’s mostly suburban Republicans, though.

Westmoreland’s purple 3rd is still safe for him, as are Graves’ 9th (Northwest) and Broun’s 10th (Northeast).  

On the east side, including Augusta, is the other open seat, the new 14th.

Now on to Washington, and their bipartisan incumbent protection map.


There it is.  

And the Seattle area is here:


In Eastern Washington, the two swing counties, Whitman and Spokane, are split up.  That’s the only big difference.  McMorris Rodgers (Yellow) and Hastings (Red) are safe.  Herrera Beutler (Purple) now has to extend a bit further East, as it loses Longview, Pacific Co., and Olympia, making it much safer for her, probably going from Toss-Up to Lean R.  

Dicks’ 6th (West), which needs to be made a bit safer for when he retires, as the Western lumber counties are trending a bit away from us, adds Pacific Co., Longview, and Olympia from the 3rd, loses some of S. Kitsap Co., as well as Central Tacoma, and remains a swingy Tilt D district.  

Reichert’s 8th (Purple) gets much bigger, losing the Microsoft Area to the new 10th (Pink) and taking up nearly all of the non-Coastal Northern Coast Counties from Larsen, making his Green 2nd a bit safer in the process (he nearly lost this year).  This means Larsen needs to take up more Suburbs, making Inslee (Blue) take a bit of Seattle, moving McDermott (Gray) into some low-income suburbs as well as Seattle, and making Adam Smith, the new Armed Services chair, in light blue, take in the AFB and Army Base, as well as all of Tacoma.

Wyoming Rule – Analysis

Over the past few weeks there has been a flurry of diaries about the Wyoming Rule (California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, and my Washington map below). Many of these diaries asked at the end what they thought about the Wyoming Rule, and the intent of this diary is to examine some of the benefits and drawbacks of the Ruie itself. 

The primary benefit of the Wyoming Rule is that the districts are smaller for many states – or about 75%-80% the size of the current projected district size. California would go from 52 seats to 68, Washington from 10 to 12, and Oklahoma from 5 to 7. Other states would stay the same – Hawaii, Nebraska, and Rhode Island.  (The number of districts for each state was researched by borodino21). The range between states would drop from about 400k (Rhode Island to Montana) to 300k (South Dakota to Alaska).

The smaller district sizes in most states means that there are more opportunities to preserve communities of interest. For some states like North Carolina, this means it may be possible to create additional minority-majority or minority-influence districts. In other states, it may be possible to draw more CDs that encompass only one county or city.

While I do not wish to subscrible to albguy's method of creating as many Democratic districts as possible (while I do enjoy his method of pushing the limits of a redistricting map), the smaller districts may make it harder to create all Democratic seat maps.

In Washington, a more realistic map under the Wyoming Rule likely means two safe(r) Republican seats in Western Washington and two or three safe Republican seats in Eastern Washington. Now perhaps one or two of those districts may be better considered swing districts (especially a Vancouver to Yakama district), but the result of the Wyoming Rule is a 7-5 delegation (compared with the current 5-4 delegation with the possibility of a 6-4 delegation after the 2011 redistricting).

The Wyoming'd New York faces a similar problem. In jsramek's New York – the delegation would be 30 Democrats and 6 Republicans. This map also includes the cracking of Staten Island, which would probably not be politically viable – even for a solidly Democratic state legislature. While this is better than the 8 Republicans representing NY in the 2011-2012 Congress, many of the maps made for the Redistricting Contest would contain 1 or 2 Republicans out of New York's 28 Congressional Districts. 

The resaons for these results is that the smaller district sizes make it more difficult to crack Republican strongholds – or areas without overwhelming the nearby Democratic area. So, back to New York, at least 4 upstate districts are created as Republican vote sinks, instead of the possibilty of spreading them out. In Western Washington, eastern King, Pierce, Thurston and Clark counties are Republican areas, as well as Lewis and most of Cowlitz counties. In some maps, it is possible to divide those populations and combine them with more Democratic areas such as Vancouver, Olympia, Tacoma, and Bellevue to allow for Democrats to win those districts (but as in the 2010 elections, Republicans held on in WA 8 [East King and Pierce County] and won in WA 3 [SW Washington including Olympia]). With smaller districts, you can create two safe Republican districts in those Republican areas in exchange for two additional safe Democratic districts (and possibly another swing district). 

So, where does that leave us?  I think the advantages of the Wymonig Rule outweigh the drawbacks. More representation is better from a democracy standpoint, but it also helps Democrats in the big picture. For all of the concerns about not being able to maximize Democratic seats, the Republicans would not be able to either. In addition, more Congressional seats will also help Democrats in the Electoral College.