Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Redistricting Season

The Washington State Redistricting Commission (WSRC) has come up with a proposed set of new congressional districts for our state. I've taken the Google Maps overlay of the districts and labeled them:

Caption: Latest proposal for new congressional districts by the Washington State Redistricting Commission.

Image credit: Screenshot of WSRC's Google Maps overlay and yellow district number annotations by Cujo359

If you can't read the map, click on it to make it full size.

There are a few interesting things about the new districts. One is that they don't look gerrymandered. I'm sure there was some possibility for political hijinks here, but generally speaking, these are districts constructed out of communities that are similar to each other. In contrast to the old 9th District, the new one is made up of emerging cities around the periphery of Seattle. We all have similar issues and concerns.

Another interesting thing is that the 9th District, made up of what could probably best be described as suburbs that are growing into medium sized cities, is the most multi-ethnic of the state's new districts. According to this little popup on the WSRC's map, the 9th is 50 percent minorities, including 21 percent Asian. That's much higher than any of the other districts, including Seattle, which is 27 percent non-white or white Latino.

Around here, "suburbs" and "white" aren't synonymous.

Essentially, the new 10th District was made up out of the southern part of the old 9th. The medium sized cities of Bellevue and the northern part of Renton were taken from the old 8th District and put into the new 9th. There are some other changes, but I think that's the main thing for folks living in the Seattle-Tacoma area. All the district lines appear to have been altered a bit, though. It's quite possible that if you were just barely in one district last year, you could be in a different one next year.

As for who is who in the new districts, I'm not sure. What little I know:
  • The new 1st District will be up for grabs. It is now made up of the northeast "suburbs" of Kirkland, Redmond, and Bothell, plus what used to be the old 2nd District. It lost the part of the old 1st that was on the western side of the Puget Sound to the new 6th District. Apparently, this was going to be Jay Inslee's district, but he's moving onto greener pastures.
  • The new 6th District looks to be Norm Dick's old 6th District, the western part of the old 1st District, plus a bit less of Tacoma and Lakewood. As far as I'm concerned, they're welcome to him.
  • The new 7th District looks much like the old 7th District, meaning it's Seattle, Vashon Island, and a few towns to the south, including Burien and Normandy Park. It's Jim McDermott's now, and I don't see that changing.
  • I'm going to guess that the new 8th District will be Dave Reichert's. It's now mostly Auburn, Issaquah, and the national parks in the central part of the state. That's a good district for him, I suppose.
  • The new 9th District will be Adam Smith's to lose. Could be wrong about that, of course, but it's a district that can't be counted on to go Democratic right now, for a lot of reasons. The South Sound area is more blue collar and conservative than Seattle, though it's probably a bit less conservative than the old 9th, which included the Lewis-McChord military base and Lakewood.
  • The new 10th District is made up of the rest of Tacoma and Lakewood, plus Olympia and the Lewis-McChord base. This one looks to be up for grabs, but it's a pretty conservative area for Western Washington.
Beyond that, I don't know. Of course, it's at least possible that things will change a bit, but politicians appear to be lining up their ambitions based on this map. I got an e-mail from the Darcy Burner campaign today, indicating that she will be running in the 1st District, and that she expects John Koster to be the Republican candidate when the primary smoke clears.

That's about all I can tell for now. Maybe more when the other congresscritters involved issue statements.

UPDATE: I've updated with new observations about the changes in the districts, plus links to maps of the old districts. One change that is an alteration of the old information is that I now say there is a bit less of Tacoma and Lakewood in the new 6th District. Those bits appear to have become part of the new 10th.

In addition, it appears that part of Renton was in the old 9th District, but it looks like all of it will now be in the new.

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