I wanted to try out a few hypothetical maps on DRA and one that came out that pleased me was a hypothetical gerrymander of Washington. In the 2011-2012 redistricting process, Democrats had (and still have) control over the Governorship and the state legislature, but Washington has a redistricting commission that has partisans and non-partisans on board. Leading the Republicans was ex-Senator Slade Gorton. Since Washington was gaining a tenth Congressional district, they couldn't do a least change map. What they ended up doing in their final map was making the 10th district a Democratic Thurston-Pearce County based district with a little of Mason County. Democrat Denny Heck won easily this year. The other major change was a reconfiguration of Governor-Elect Jay Inslee's WA-01 from a Sound-side district composed of upper Kitsap County, upper King County, and lower Snohomish County to a less Democrat district that is made up of a large chunk of upper King County and the eastern portions of Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom County. The side effects of these changes were that Rick Larsen's WA-02 was made more Democratic, Jaime Herrera Beutler's WA-03 was made more Republican, and David Reichert's WA-08 was made more Republican. Democrat Suzan DelBene defeated Snohomish County Councilor John Koster (who made a last minute f***-up by saying that "the rape thing" doesn't justify abortion) with almost 54% of the vote, even beating Koster in his home county.
Now that elections are over and done with and Washington is going to have a delegation of 6 Democrats and four Republicans, I decided to play around with the map and get a solid Democratic gerrymander. I found that I only really needed one GOP vote sink and King County has a treasure trove of Democrats to spread around. I chose Washington in part because I lived in Seattle once way back when I was only a toddler. My memories are pretty simple...
...and the plethora of Starbucks, to name just a few memories. But enough about me, let's get to the maps!
I took four pictures of my map.
WA-01 (blue): Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Medina)
63.2% Obama-35.0% McCain
57.3% Avg D/42.7% Avg R
If one thing miffed me about the real new WA-01 it was that it was a 51% Rossi-49% Murray district. Although I guess that can be explained somewhat by the fact that it contains part of Rossi's old base (suburban King County that's typically blue). This district is roughly 6% more Democratic by grabbing north Seattle and the bluer suburban areas. It also contains virtually none of Whatcom County (the only part of the real WA-01 that Republican John Koster won this year) and is more King County centric. Although it doesn't contain Medina, you don't have to live in a district to represent it, just in the state. I guess in a real Dem gerrymander, they could draw an appendage down to Medina (near Bellevue), but I drew my map almost purely with partisan gain in mind.
WA-02 (green): Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Everett)
60.8% Obama-37.4% McCain
55.9% Avg D/44.1% Avg R
Rick Larsen was almost defeated by John Koster in a more conservative WA-02 in 2010, so I can see why he loved this new map. I kept the district roughly the same by keeping it on the blue coastal area as well as keeping San Juan and Island County. The main difference is that it picks back up red northwest Whatcom County and loses most of blue Bellingham to WA-05. It makes up for this by taking in most of Shoreline and a piece of northwest Seattle in King County.
WA-03 (dark magenta): Rep. Jaime Beutler (née Herrera) (R-Camas)
53.9% Obama-44.2% McCain
47.4% Avg D-52.6% Avg R
Although this district still loses blue Olympia to the newly created WA-10, it loses stubbornly red Lewis County and the red parts of Clark and Skamania County to the very blue WA-07, gives the red majority of Klickitat County to WA-04, and picks up the blue parts of Yakima County. The result is a district that would likely be D+1 (it was D+0 in the 2000's iteration).
WA-04 (red): Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Yakima)
36.6% Obama-61.5% McCain
33.2% Avg D/66.8% Avg R
Doc Hastings' district (once Inslee's for one term) becomes the Republican vote sink here. It takes the reddest area from WA-05 and loses the blue parts of Yakima County to WA-03. This is about the reddest you can get in Washington.
WA-05 (gold): Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane)
52.3% Obama-45.2% McCain
47.4% Avg D/52.6% Avg R
In order to make this competitive, I had to have it lose a lot of its red territory in southeast Washington (but still stretches south to take in bluish Pullman, Clarkston, and Clarkston Heights) and red pieces of Spokane County to WA-04. It takes in most of the northern counties (where there's a sizable Native American population) and stretches west to take blue Arlington in Snohomish County, blue Bellingham in Whatcom County, and a few fragments of Skagit County. This district would probably be around R+1, but Democrats have a bench in Spokane that could run here.
WA-06 (teal): Rep.-Elect Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor)
56.2% Obama-41.9% McCain
51.7% Avg D/48.3% Avg R
This district becomes slightly less blue by losing its share of dark blue Tacoma, but picks up blue Vashion and Maury Island as well as a strip of southwest King County to partially counterbalance the loss. Gig Harbor (in Pearce County) is still all in this district and Kilmer is supposedly a sharp young Democrat. I wish him well. Rep. Norm Dicks left big shoes to fill.
WA-07 (dark grey): Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle)
70.7% Obama-27.7% McCain
66.0% Avg D/34.0% Avg R
My former Congressman gets an unpacked district that cracks Seattle (as opposed to having it all inside his district like usual) and takes all of red Kittitas County and Lewis County. It also takes in suburban Pearce County and the red parts of Clark and Skamina County. As a result it goes from a D+31 district to a D+17-18 district.
WA-08 (lime): Rep. David Reichert (R-Auburn)
60.5% Obama-38.0% McCain
52.8% Avg D/47.2% Avg R
The waffling Congressman can now finally get the retirement he's earned with this district. It gains more blue suburban King County and picks up the rather small reddish Chelan County. He cannot win here.
WA-09 (cyan): Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma)
60.4% Obama-37.8% McCain
54.8% Avg D/45.2% Avg R
Adam Smith (no, not that one) gets his home of Tacoma in his district and, just like in the real map, his district moves a few point to the left by snaking further into King County. He's safe here.
WA-10 (deep pink): Rep. Denny Heck (D-Olympia)
57.3% Obama-40.9% McCain
53.0% Avg D/47.0% Avg R
The narrow loser of the WA-03 race in 2010 gets a district more suited to him. It contains almost all of Thurston County and the bluer middle of Pearce County. This WA-10 is similar to the real one that Denny Heck was just elected to.
And that's it for my Democratic gerrymander of Washington. I welcome any thoughts and opinions on this. In short, I helped a lot of Democrats out by unpacking King County much further and only needed one GOP vote sink. I hope you're all pleased by this work.