OLYMPIA — Democrats and Republicans put out proposals Tuesday for how they would redraw boundaries of Washington’s 10 congressional districts.
If any one of them prevails, it looks like Snohomish County will wind up being served by two rather than three people in the U.S. House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, each of the state Redistricting Commission’s voting members — Democrats April Sims and Brady Pinero Walkinshaw and Republicans Joe Fain and Paul Graves — released a map showing how they would reposition the congressional district boundaries.
Today, the 1st, 2nd and 7th congressional districts contain parts of Snohomish County.
In their first-draft proposals, all four political cartographers push the 7th, served by Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle, out of south Snohomish County. And the largest communities — Edmonds and Woodway — wind up in either the 1st or the 2nd, depending on the map-maker. The design of the 1st, now represented by Democrat Suzan DelBene of Medina, and the 2nd, represented by Democrat Rick Larsen of Everett, are in for some big changes based on the four preliminary maps.
Democrats Sims and Walkinshaw take a similar approach. They move Edmonds and Woodway, now in the 7th, as well as Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, now in the 2nd, into the 1st District. Their maps would remove portions of Skagit and Whatcom counties from the 1st District, as well.
Republican Graves goes in the opposite direction, creating a district much less safe for the Democratic incumbent. He puts south county communities into the 2nd District and pushes the boundary of the 1st across the Cascades to include communities like Leavenworth and part of Wenatchee.
In a statement, Graves said this would become a swing district. That’s ironic, because when the district was drawn a decade ago, commissioners contended then it had the makings of a swing district. But DelBene has not been seriously challenged since getting elected in 2012.
On his map, Republican Fain makes the 1st more compact. He puts the south portion of the county, as well as Shoreline in north King County, into the 1st District. Bothell, Kirkland and Redmond are also in the district. He moves cities like Snohomish and Lake Stevens out of the 1st and into the 2nd. He also moves the portions of east Snohomish County out of DelBene’s district and into what would become a geographically large 8th District.
Fain draws an interesting 2nd District, as well. He moves more of Whatcom County into the district. And he slices off half of Whidbey Island — from Coupeville to Clinton — and puts it in a refashioned 6th District, now represented by Democrat Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor.
Every 10 years, after the U.S. Census, the boundaries of the state’s legislative and congressional districts are redrawn by a bipartisan commission. Under state law, updated boundaries must create districts nearly equal in population, as compact as possible, of geographically contiguous areas and not favoring or disfavoring any racial group or political party. The new districts should also coincide with existing natural boundaries and preserve communities of related and mutual interest.
Commissioners put forth their proposals for the state’s 49 legislative districts last week.
And the public is encouraged to submit their own proposals using the commission’s online mapping tool.
Jerry Cornfield: firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-352-8623