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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...

...flying a seagull kite at Gas Works Park...

...the Fremont Troll (which scared me silly)...

...and the plethora of Starbucks, to name just a few memories.  But enough about me, let's get to the maps!


The original Starbucks logo, before they went national.

I took four pictures of my map.


Upper Puget Sound:

The southwest border:

The Olympia-Tacoma-Seattle stretch:

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.


How many districts would have swung Dem in 2012?

11%5 votes
9%4 votes
45%19 votes
23%10 votes
9%4 votes

| 42 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Age 23. Voting in NJ-03. Lived most of life in NJ-01. Had Rush Holt represent me during my undergrad years and am now represented by Frank Pallone in my grad school.

    by KingofSpades on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:16:11 AM PST

  •  Washington's Redistricting Commission should be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, Chas 981

    a model for the other states IMHO.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:48:49 PM PST

  •  The fact that Seattle is all in one district (0+ / 0-)

    makes me think the commission has too much rethug power.  Next time keep people like Slimey Slade off the commission and we might get a better Dem representation.  WA should be more like 7 Dems and 3 rethugs.

    We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work and access to birth control in 2012. Elizabeth Warren

    by Leftleaner on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 01:10:18 PM PST

    •  Correct me if I'm wrong, but (0+ / 0-)

      it seems that Seattle has always been kept whole in a Congressional district.

      And you know about Slade Gorton?  Yeah, I think the compromise he worked out with a Dem should have been sent back to the drawing board until either the 1st was more Dem or the 3rd and 8th was made a bit more Dem (than what the proposal had).

      FWIW, the 1st voted almost 54% for Delbene and Obama got ~54.5% there this year.

      Age 23. Voting in NJ-03. Lived most of life in NJ-01. Had Rush Holt represent me during my undergrad years and am now represented by Frank Pallone in my grad school.

      by KingofSpades on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:06:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, Seattle has been the 1st for a long time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but it doesn't have to stay that way.  I think Gorton was the heavy on that committee and got more of what he wanted than someone else would have.  He plays the benevolent senior statesman, but he was a dirty rethug when he was in power and I am sure he still is.

        We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work and access to birth control in 2012. Elizabeth Warren

        by Leftleaner on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:40:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Washington redistricting law hurts on this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Allen, Englishlefty

        as one of the criteria is supposed to be minimal splitting of cities, counties, school districts, and other local political divisions. So keeping as much of Seattle in a single district is actually one of the statutory bounds of the redistricting commission in how they can draw maps. I'm still of the opinion that the splitting of Mason county is legally questionable on that criteria, but I took part in a good deal of the commission process, and feel that as much as I think the shoring up of both Beutler and Reichert was a strategic blunder on the dem's part, the map was drawn under good process.

        •  I dont remember this detail - the final map (0+ / 0-)

          makes a bit more sense now (even though a strategic blunder by the Dems).

          We really need to ensure that in these redistricting laws that aim to be neutral that we exclude places like Seattle from the minimal splitting of cities criteria... Certainly it is a good idea for smaller places.

          Very interesting to know this from someone who was involved.

          Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, "If you agree with Bush's economic policy, Cheney's foreign policy, and Santorum's social policy, you loved Romney's speech" - James Carville (aka the Ragin Cajun) on the Colbert Report

          by CF of Aus on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:17:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Except it isn't in one district (4+ / 0-)

      It always used to be in one district (the 7th), but remember that South Seattle got put into the 'minority-majority' WA-09 under the new map, along with Bellevue and south King County.

      Not that Gorton had a problem with that arrangement. All 4 of the proposed maps had some version of the south Seattle/Bellevue/so. King County WA-09, including the 2 R's on the commission. They were happy with that, since it still creates two Dem vote sinks (one with Dem percentages in the 70s, one in the 60s, instead of just one up in the 80s, like we had before). If you had a map that split Seattle up among three districts... or five like this one, which is fiendish in its intricacies... then you'd have the GOPers crying foul, because the Dems would actually be distributing Seattle effectively so that you'd maximize the number of lean-Dem seats (with Dem totals running in the high-50s).

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:57:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I voted 6-7 as the are still 3 R districts (0+ / 0-)

    (which seems fair).

    Do you know whether the two Obama Districts (3rd and 5th) that are R Districts have any historic conservadems types ?

    Would Baird win the 3rd in this form ? Would a state legislator ?

    Why doesn't every city have a troll under the bridge ? It seems a pretty obvious piece of artwork !

    Good stuff as per usual.

    Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, "If you agree with Bush's economic policy, Cheney's foreign policy, and Santorum's social policy, you loved Romney's speech" - James Carville (aka the Ragin Cajun) on the Colbert Report

    by CF of Aus on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:25:55 AM PST

    •  Baird would win easily in the new 3rd. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades, CF of Aus

      It went from a PVI of EVEN to R+2 with the redistricting, but Baird won his last two elections 63-37 and 64-36. Yeah, the 3rd is a good place for a conservadem, or even just a moderate dem to take. I think a Dean Takko or Sid Snyder-type Democrat from the 17th, 19th, or 49th would put up a good fight against that horrible woman.

    •  I voted for 8 (0+ / 0-)

      Even if I made the 5th a bit more Dem than what I got here, it would be only gettable in a presidential year.

      Age 23. Voting in NJ-03. Lived most of life in NJ-01. Had Rush Holt represent me during my undergrad years and am now represented by Frank Pallone in my grad school.

      by KingofSpades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:37:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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