Metro Puget Sound is a legislative fortress for Democrats

Metro Puget Sound is a legislative fortress for Democrats

These maps clearly show the political center of gravity — and why Washington is a very blue state.

OLYMPIA — These maps use symbols to show the balance of geographic power in the 2019 Washington Legislature. Each square represents a legislative district. Blue indicates Democratic control, red represents Republican-held seats, and purple squares indicate a split or other anomaly.

These maps clearly show the Democratic center of gravity: metropolitan Puget Sound, where legislative districts are small in area but densely populated. There are comparatively few Republicans legislators in that cluster of districts. Most Republicans are from outside Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue and their suburbs. As you would expect, the GOP holds sway in sparsely populated areas and in the Spokane and Vancouver urban centers.

On the Senate map, each square equals one senator. Democrats control the Senate with 29 seats to 20 for Republicans. But one Democratic senator caucuses with Republicans (the purple square), so the balance is effectively 28 Democratic votes to 21 on the Republican side.

On the House map, each square equals two representatives, and in most cases one party or the other occupies both House seats (blue squares for Democrats and red squares for Republicans). There are a few districts where the parties split the two House seats, and those are purple squares. Overall, Democrats control the House 57-41.

Democrats control the governor’s mansion in addition to both chambers of the Legislature, which makes Washington one of 36 states with a “trifecta” — single-party control of an entire state government.

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