Spin Control

Redistricting: Spokane districts could change a little or a lot

Redistricting Commissioner Slade Gorton, a former U.S. Senator, reviews a proposed map with Commission Chairwoman Lura Powell during a break in the Washington Redistricting Commission meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in Olympia. (Jim Camden)
Redistricting Commissioner Slade Gorton, a former U.S. Senator, reviews a proposed map with Commission Chairwoman Lura Powell during a break in the Washington Redistricting Commission meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in Olympia. (Jim Camden)

Slade Gorton and Commission Chairwoman Lura Powell review a redistricting map.

OLYMPIA -- The state Redistricting Commissioner released its first round of maps for congressional and legislative districts, as described in the story here.

Maps are online at the commission's website .

While most of the public testimony revolved around creating a congressional district in which racial and ethnic minorities are more than 50 percent of the population, among the more interesting things is the way the four commissioners treat the legislative districts in and around Spokane County. The Democrats on the commission seem intent on doing away with the current 9th District, forcing all of those GOP legislators into another district where they'd be running against  other Republicans.

Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, the appointee of Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, makes the most changes to boundaries inside Spokane County, esentially moving the 3rd District, a Democratic stronghold in central Spokane, to west Spokane and the West Plains.

Gorton denied this was an attempt to create GOP districts throughout the county. Instead, he insisted it was a way to make all the Spokane districts "competitive."

The congressional district lines are all over the map, so to speak, with some very interesting and innovative approaches to adding the new 10th District....

...Gorton's proposal is to make a new district along the northern border, from the San Juan Islands and Bellingham across through Okanogan County, and taking in all of Whatcom, Douglas, Chelan and Skagit counties, as well as much of rural Snohomish.

Commissioner Tom Huff, appointed by House Minority Leader Richard DeBoldt, carves the 10th District out of south King and north Pierce counties, making it a majority-minority district. It also splits the current 3rd District so that Olympia and most of Thurston County is in the 9th District, leaving the 3rd to stretch from Pacific County through Vancouver and up the Columbia Gorge through Klickitat County.

Commissioner Dean Foster, appointed by House Speaker Frank Chopp, creates the 10th District by joining Olympia and surrounding towns to most of the Olympic Peninsula.

Commissioner Tim Ceis, appointed by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown of Spokane, creates the 10th District out of the urban and suburban parts of Thurston and Pierce counties. That plan also divides Eastern and Central Washington districts on more of a north-south diagonal (mostly I-90), so that the 5th District's southern boundary is the Spokane-Whitman County line at the eastern edge, but takes in parts of grant, Adams and Douglas counties. The 4th brings Pullman and Walla Walla, now in the 5th, into a district with the Tri-Cities and Yakima.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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