Washington’s Final Congressional Map Retains Two Swing Districts

  • Legislature made minor adjustments to commission’s map
  • Maintains competitive district for ‘Frontline Democrat’ Schrier

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Washington state’s legislature on Tuesday enacted a new congressional map that’s practically identical to the status quo boundaries the state’s redistricting commission approved last November.

The revised 10-district map in one of the nation’s most Democratic states includes six districts that clearly favor Democrats, two that have a decided Republican lean, and two that are highly competitive.

The state Senate approved the new lines, 35–14, by the deadline for the legislature to adopt minor amendments to the commission’s proposal. The state House voted 88–7 for the map on Feb. 2.

The legislature easily surpassed the two-thirds approval needed to clear the redistricting measure (H.C.R. 4407), a concurrent resolution that doesn’t require the signature of Gov. Jay Inslee (D).

State House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D), a sponsor of the bill, said the legislature’s minuscule tweaks to the commission’s map were requested by county commissioners.

Source: Washington State Redistricting Commission

A competitive November election probably will materialize in the 8th District, where Rep. Kim Schrier (D) is seeking a third term in a district that includes parts of King and Pierce counties near Seattle and Tacoma and takes in farmland to the east.

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Schrier was re-elected in 2020 by fewer than 4 percentage points, by far the closest result of any House race in Washington state that year. She’s on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of 32 “Frontline Democrats” in the most difficult races this November.

Schrier presently represents 80% of the people who live in the reconfigured 8th District. Most of those new to the 8th are now constituents of five-term Democrat Suzan DelBene in the 1st District. President Joe Biden would have carried the revised 8th by 7 percentage points in the 2020 election, essentially his same margin of victory in the current 8th.

The other competitive district is the 3rd, where the dominant population center is Clark County (Vancouver) across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) was re-elected by 13 percentage points in 2020 over a well-funded Democrat, running well ahead of Donald Trump’s performance. Trump’s margin of victory is about 4 points in both the current and new 3rd.

Herrera Beutler voted to impeach Trump in January 2021 and broke party rank to vote for a bipartisan commission to investigate a pro-Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol. Trump is backing Republican Joe Kent, a military veteran, over Herrera Beutler.

DelBene’s 1st District and 11-term Democrat Rick Larsen‘s 2nd District were altered the most by redistricting. The remap shifted about 215,000 people in Snohomish County north of Seattle to the 1st from the 2nd. Whatcom and Skagit counties in northwestern Washington, now divided between the 1st and 2nd, would be unified in the 2nd. Both reconfigured districts favor Democrats.

The state’s most heavily Democratic district would continue to be the Seattle-based 7th of three-term Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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