Politics & Government

Redistricting mix includes Olympia, Bellevue

It's all speculation at this point. But some think the state's new 10th Congressional District could be put east of Seattle to include the suburbs of Bellevue and environs, and this could help Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert hold onto his 8th district seat.

Geographer Dick Morrill has written that Olympia is likely to be at the center of any new 10th district. But the P-I.com had this story that quotes former state GOP chair Chris Vance on the-10th-could-go-on-the-Eastside theory.

The Census confirmed Tuesday that Washington gets a 10th district, which an independent Washington State Redistricting Commission will carve out of the state's political map, which David Ammons of the Office of the Secretary of State released a link to.

I was out yesterday and this is my effort to catch up. According to Ammons:

Every district has grown –s ome far more than others – in the past decade. This map shows how much over the new ideal population the current nine districts are. The 8th is the most over-populated, 137,000 over the ideal population of 672,454 once we are carved into 10 districts. The 3rd is the next fattest – 115,000 too many people. The 2nd and the 4th are both about 90,000 too big and the 1st is about 67,000 too big. The 5th and the 9th need to shrink by about 50,000. The 6th and 7th are about 34,000 over ideal size.

So far, only Democrats have appointed people to the five-member Redistricting Commission that will meet next year and decide the boundaries for 10 congressional and 49 state legislative districts in Washington. Last time around they shrank Thurston County's share of the 3rd Congressional District to include only Olympia and to the south, while drawing the 9th down from its I-5 orientation to include Lacey.

Furthering that trend to accommodate the Vancouver area's growth would take Olympia completely out of the mix. It could mean the 10th, or it could cause the 9th to take in more if not all of the county -- but the Redistricting Commission is only just starting up.

House Democrats named Dean Foster of Olympia and Senate Democrats named Tim Ceis to represent their caucus on the commission. Foster is a former House chief clerk and member of the 2001 Redistricting Commission. Ceis is a former Seattle deputy major under Greg Nickels. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown announced Ceis’ appointment with a news release last week that said in part:

Ceis is currently a partner and founding member of Ceis Bayne East Strategic, a consulting firm that provides government affairs, communication and advocacy services to government, business and non-profits. Best known as Deputy Mayor to Greg Nickels from 2002 to 2009, Ceis earned the reputation as a skilled negotiator and a sharp political mind. Prior to this position, he served as chief of staff to King County Executive Ron Sims and as a senior policy aide to Governor Gary Locke. Over his 23 years in public service, Ceis has held executive positions in city, county and state government.

We'll all have to stay tuned.