Washington State: A Nonpartisan 10 District Map

In the wake of the news that Washington State is slated to recieve a new seat in Congress, I decided to try and draw a 10 district map for the state. Since they redistrict by a non partisan board, I tried to make the districts as sensible as they could be and avoid splitting counties wherever possible. I also ignored incumbents’ homes and aimed to create districts based upon shared interests where possible without splitting counties. For example, the new 10th is centered on the high tech industry as a creative class district, while the new 8th is a blue collar industrial district, and the 6th has a secondary military focus.

The resulting map probably will make at least three incumbent Democrats less than pleased. Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee now live in the new 2nd, Rick Larsen is now in the new 1st, the 6th and 10th are unoccupied. Dems should win the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 9th, and the new 10th without much problem. The 8th is drawn to favor a blue collar union Dem, though Reichert could win there, and the 3rd is still the most balanced in the state.

The GOP is probably content with this one; while not a gerrymander, the 4th and 5th are secure, the 3rd is still a tossup, and Reichert sheds the problematic parts of the old 8th (though his new one is far from secure).


Pierce County (Tacoma)

King County (Seattle)

Details for Each District

Washington’s 1st Congressional District

Community of Interest: Snohomish County

Politically: Likely Democrat

Ethnic Makeup: 77% White, 2% Black, 1% Native Americam, 9% Asian, 7% Latino, 3% Other

One of my core beliefs is that if any county has roughly the correct amount of population to form a single congressional district, it should remain intact as a single unit. Thus, the 1st takes up all but about 30,000 residents of Snohomish County, which supported Obama by a 58-40 margin. That said, Jay Inslee doesn’t live in this version of the district, but current 2nd CD congressman Rick Larsen does. Correspondingly, Inslee now finds himself in Larsen’s 2nd. It would be an interesting situation to be sure.

Washington’s 2nd Congressional District

Community of Interest: Pacific Coast Communities

Politically: Likely Democrat

Ethnic Makeup: 83% White, 2% Black, 2% Native American, 4% Asian, 7% Latino, 3% Other

This is the district that I am by far the least happy with in the whole map. It’s a direct result of keeping Snohomish largely together in the 1st, and is an awkward combination of Bremerton’s Kitsap County, the various islands, and the two farthest north coastal counties. All of these are fairly Democratic areas, and it should elect a Democrat. The new 2nd has two Democratic incumbents: Jay Inslee (already discussed) and Norm Dicks, who lives in Bremerton. I’d guess that Dicks runs in my 6th, where most of his old district is and Inslee or Larsen would run here.

Washington’s 3rd Congressional District

Community of Interest: Southern Washington

Politically: Tossup, Slight Dem Lean

Ethnic Makeup: 76% White, 1% Black, 2% Native American, 3% Asian, 15% Latino, 2% Other

This, along with my new 8th District are the two most competitive within the new map. The bulk of the district’s population lives in Clark County, and Obama carried every county in the district with the exception of the Yakima County portion of the district. Now, about that Yakima County portion of the district…it’s 60% Latino, so it’s not nearly as bad as you might think upon first glance. That said, I don’t doubt that the right GOPer could win here given the swingy nature of several of the counties.

Washington’s 4th Congressional District

Community of Interest: Central Washington

Politically: Safe Republican

Ethnic Makeup: 68% White, 1% Black, 1% Native American, 2% Asian, 27% Latino, 1% Other

The most GOP district in all of Washington. It contains several smaller cities: Pasco, Kennewick, Walla Walla, and the vast bulk of the city of Yakima. This should be a sinecure for whichever GOPer holds it.

Washington’s 5th Congressional District

Community of Interest: Eastern Washington

Politically: Likely Republican

Ethnic Makeup: 86% White, 1% Black, 2% Native American, 2% Asian, 5% Latino, 2% Other

This is the less Republican of the two Eastern Washington seats, and most of the population here is concentrated in Spokane County, which McCain barely won. It also contains Washington State University in Pullman; Whitman County is the only one in the district that voted for John McCain. This should be a relatively safe place for Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, but it’s not a mortal lock like the 4th.

Washington’s 6th Congressional District

Community of Interest: Olympic Peninsula/US Military

Politically: Likely Democratic

Ethnic Makeup: 83% White, 2% Black, 2% Native American, 3% Asian, 6% Latino, 3% Other

This version of the 6th has been largely reconfigured; it sheds Bremerton to the 2nd, and Tacoma into the 9th. In its place, the new 6th gains heavily Democratic Thurston County (Olympia)which voted 60-38 for Obama. It also picks up moderately Democratic Pacific and Wahkitum Counties as well as Republican Lewis County. It also includes Fort Lewis, McChord Air Force Base and the Gig Harbor portions of Pierce.

My guess is that with Fort Lewis and McChord, Dicks would run here instead of the 2nd, which despite Kitsap and Bremerton, is still mostly of a Whatcom/Skagit/San Juan/Island District. The only familiar part of the 2nd for Dicks would be Bremerton, whereas here he has represented the four northernmost counties plus the Pierce component of the district. It’s likely not quite as Democratic as the old 6th, but it should elect some flavor of Democrat.

The only regret I had here was not getting the missile sub base in Bangor into this district as well. If you’re willing to split Snohomish and King even more, you can do that. With that said, two out of three ain’t bad, and Dicks will look after Bangor anyways.

Washington’s 7th Congressional District

Community of Interest: City of Seattle

Politically: Strong Democratic

Ethnic Makeup: 63% White, 9% Black, 1% Native American, 17% Asian, 8% Latino, 3% Other

This is basically the city of Seattle with just a sliver of suburbs to the south. Slam dunk Dem with a very high Dem + PVI number.

Washington’s 8th Congressional District

Community of Interest: South King County

Politically: Tossup

Ethnic Makeup: 69% White, 6% Black, 1% Native American, 11% Asian, 9% Latino, 3% Other

Now we move on to that Democratic perennial target, the 8th District. That district, in its old form has been vaporized into three. The new 8th has been designed as a largely South King County seat; think of this as the Boeing/Weyerhauser district. It includes Kent, Renton, Covington, and Auburn from the old 8th, as well as Federal Way, Des Moines, and SeaTac from the old 9th. In addition, there is a small slice of Pierce County (mostly Bonney Lake) included.

Dave Reichert would probably run here; the new 10th is drawn as a Microsoft/High Tech District that has most of Darcy Burner’s best areas included. That said, most of the Pierce County portions that have saved him in the past ended up in the new 9th District.

For the Democrats, my guess is that State Rep Chris Hurst runs here, setting up a cop vs. cop showdown. Hurst always would have difficulty in a Dem primary in the old 8th, as he was a poor fit for the Bellvue/Mercer Island parts. This much more working class version should fit him like a glove.

Washington’s 9th Congressional District

Community of Interest: City of Tacoma/Pierce County

Politically: Likely Democratic

Ethnic Makeup: 72% White, 7% Black, 1% Native American, 7% Asian, 8% Latino, 4% Other

The 9th has been redrawn to be all about Tacoma and Pierce County. With the exception of Gig Harbor, Bonney Lake, and Fort Pierce, all of Pierce County is in the district. Adam Smith, a Tacoma resident, should be just fine here.

Washington’s 10th Congressional District

Community of Interest: King County’s High Tech Community

Politically: Likely Democrat

Ethnic Makeup: 77% White, 2% Black, 1% Native American, 12% Asian, 6% Latino, 2% Other

If the new 8th is all about Boeing and Weyerhauser, then this is the Microsoft District. It includes Bellvue, Redmond, Mercer Island, Shoreline, Issiquah, and part of Bothell. There is also a small portion of Snohomish County with about 30,000 voters.

It is likely the wealthiest district in the state and the best educated. It is appropriately the newest district, as this portion of King County has been the fastest growing in the state. It includes the areas where Darcy Burner did best in the old 8th and will almost certainly elect a Democrat. The primary here would be something to watch….Ross Hunter would likely have the inside track here.