|Redistricting Process: Legislative Commission||Population Change (since 2000): 830,419|
|Legislature: Democratic||Seats: 10 (+1 from 2010)|
|Governor: Jay Inslee (D)||Members of Congress: 4R, 6D|
|Party Control: Democratic||2012: 56.2% Obama, 41.3% Romney|
Three maps are available for each state. Each has new district outlines in bold.
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New Districts by Party Representation
2010 Redistricting Changes: Washington Picks Up One Seat
The state of Washington had substantial growth since the 2000 census, increasing by 14% to reach a total of 6,724,540 people. The Third, Fourth, and Eighth Districts saw marked growth, with the Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth showing the slowest growth. The former group of districts encompasses central Washington; all three are sparsely populated compared to the high density residential areas surrounding the Seattle area. The districts with the slowest growth were all relatively close to the coastline.
The state of Washington turned the responsibility for redistricting to a citizen commission in 1983. Legislators ensured that the Commission would have members from both parties, so that the major interests of the parties would be represented, but first and foremost the interest of the people. The four members of the commission are chosen, one each, by the Majority Leader of the House, Minority leader of the House, Majority Leader of the Senate, and Minority leader of the Senate. This means that the members of the Commission are often two Democrats and two Republicans. The process was previously legislatively controlled, but now hardly involves the legislature or the governor. Plans provided by the Commission don’t require gubernatorial approval, and only take a two-third majority in the state legislature to be minimally adjusted. The four members are expected to select a non-voting chairperson to preside over the Commission. If the members are unable to select a chair, the Washington Supreme Court selects a chair.
In January of 2011, the Washington legislature selected citizens for the Redistricting Commission. By November 2011, when the Commission had been deliberating for months and drafting plans, the members emerged with four different plans, two from each party’s representatives. The plans had similar hopes for all districts except for the Eighth and Tenth districts, which were going to be made either tossup or leaning districts. The GOP plans made both districts tossups, presumably in the hope that the party would win both, while the Democrats’ approach suggested that the Democratic Party was willing to leave one as GOP-leaning, while making the other Democrat-leaning. Winning the newly added Tenth District for the Democratic Party, even conceding the Eighth, would leave the party with a majority in the state’s legislature.
The Commission unanimously approved a plan on January 1, 2012, passing it to the legislature, where the Engrossed House Concurrent Resolution 4409 was signed into law a month later. The resolution made a few technical changes to the submitted plan.
The new First District holds most of northwest Seattle and stretches to the Canadian border, reaching out to the coast near Vancouver. The district has 77.6% Non-Hispanic White residents, 8.37% Hispanic, and 8.29% Asian. Geographically, the new First essentially follows the contours of the old Second District. The old First was a much more concentrated area on the Puget Sound, which leaned Democratic in the past three presidential elections, and heavily so in 2008. Regardless of this trend, the district elected a Republican in 1995.
The new First is highly competitive, as the bipartisan redistricting commission elected to draw other representatives into safer districts and put into question the seat of Representative Jay Inlee (D) who chose to retire.
The geography of the new Second District contains much of the old Second. Demographically, the changes in the district are not extremely drastic, but do reflect some shifts. The Non-Hispanic White population went from 83.2% in 2010 to 74.9% in 2012, the Black population increased from 1.3% to 2.5%, and the Asian population increased from 3.7% to 7.6%. The Hispanic population also increased from 7.6% to 9.5%. The increases in minority populations overall suggest a balancing in the demographics of the region, bringing them closer to the levels of the U.S. as a whole. Additionally, the rural culture in the old second will likely be transformed by the inclusion of suburban areas like Everett surrounding the Puget Sound, and exclusion of more conservative areas like eastern Snohomish County.
The population before and after redistricting of the Third remained relatively constant after redistricting, largely because the district itself did not drastically change boundaries. Geographically, the new district still holds most of the southwestern corner of the state, but has stretched out along the southern border into what used to be under the jurisdiction of the Washington 4th. The White, Asian, Black, and Hispanic populations all varied by only one or two points, and the Native American population gained almost a full percentage point. The new area covered on the southern border comes close to one of the largest Indian reservations, the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Indian Reservation.
The Fourth District saw somewhat minor changes in the redistricting process; it lost two counties to the newly drawn Eighth District, but retained close to 90 percent of the area of the former Fourth. The district also picked up a small part of the former Fifth’s area, changing its demographics very slightly. The Fourth District is now less heavily White than it was previously, and marginally more Hispanic. The Hispanic population grew by about 6 percent, and the White population shrunk by about 6 percent.
The geographical changes made to the Fifth District, centered around Spokane, involved a general push to the east. The district lost parts of Adams and Okanogan counties, lessening its overall area, but not largely modifying the demographic makeup of the region. Previous to redistricting, the demographic makeup of the district was 86.1% White, 1.3% Black, 5.6% Hispanic, %2.1 Native American, and 2.1% Asian. After redistricting, the numbers were at 85.7% White, 1.5% Black, 5.5% Hispanic, 1.9% Native American, and 2.2% Asian. As is shown in the mostly consistent proportions listed above, the makeup of the district has not much changed.
The new Sixth District largely resembles the district prior to redistricting, though it now holds 18 percent of the former First. The rest of the district is land that was previously under the jurisdiction of the Sixth District. The newly drawn Sixth covers the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas.
The constituency of the Washington 6th before redistricting was labeled “Solid Democratic” by the New York Times’ race rating system, and since the populace has only slightly changed, political conditions are not expected to change. The White demographic increased by two percentage points and now sits at 78.6%. The Black population decreased by two percentage points, and all other demographic groups remained more or less unchanged.
Prior to redistricting changes, the demography of the Seventh was 67% White, 7.8% Black, 6.9% Hispanic, 13.4% Asian, and 0.7% Native American. Now the population breakdown stands at 73% White, 4.5% Black, 7.3% Hispanic, 10.3% Asian, and 0.8% Native American. So, the proportion of White residents increased, the proportion of Black residents decreased, and that of Hispanic residents increased. The Seventh District was one of the most slow-growing districts in Washington. Considering that it contains most of Seattle’s metropolitan area, this is indicative of a considerable shift in population away from the urban setting. The inland districts grew faster.
The Eighth District of Washington is the most central district, containing parts of Mt. Rainier and much of the Cascade Mountains. Prior to redistricting, the district contained areas closer to the coast like Mercer Island, Bellevue, and other suburbs of Seattle. The district still contains close to 70% of its old area, but skirts around Sammamish and Bellevue, instead covering most of the Wenatchee National Forest.
The demography of the Eighth District was previously 75.7% White, 2.6% Black, 5.8% Hispanic, 11.3% Asian, and 0.6% Native American. The Hispanic demographic makes up 9.7% of the population and the Asian demographic, 7%. The Native American population also increased by 0.5 percentage points
The new Washington Ninth covers a very small area of the state including the metropolitan area of Seattle-Tacoma. The southernmost half of Seattle, north Tacoma, and many of the suburbs are included in this long-time Democratic district. Previous to redistricting, the Ninth District contained areas further inland, but bordering the larger metropolitan areas of the state. It skirted along the coast, down to just above Olympia, Washington’s capital.
The new district consists of 20% of the old Seventh District, 40% of the old Eighth, and 40% of the old Ninth. Demographically, the district has seen some major changes. In a first for Washington state, the district’s demographic makeup is 50.33% minority, making it a minority-majority district. The areas influencing this change are in south and central Seattle, now contained in the newly north-shifted Ninth.
The Tenth District of Washington is a new addition after the 2010 census.. The district contains the capital, Olympia, and spans to parts of southern Tacoma. The largest city in the district is Lakewood, near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, so the new Tenth is largely dominated by U.S. Military and state employees. The demographic makeup of the district is 69.8% White, 6% Black, 6.4% Asian, 9.8% Hispanic, 1.5% Native American, and 3.8% Other.