Washington is getting a 10th congressional district in time for the 2012 elections, and South Sound remains near the center of likely shifts in the state's political map. That's both for congressional and legislative boundaries in Thurston and Pierce counties.
Census data released this week shows that the 3rd congressional district– which overlaps Olympia, parts of Thurston County and Southwest Washington and is represented by Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler – was the state's second fastest-growing congressional district over the past decade.
So its boundaries must shrink as the state Redistricting Commission gets to work next month to draw 10 congressional districts and redraw 49 legislative ones.
The 3rd grew by 19 percent (which puts it 15.9 percent over the target population of 672,454 people for each of 10 projected congressional districts), according to the commission’s analysis of Census data. The fastest growing was the 8th – which covers Bellevue and outlying areas east of Lake Washington and is represented by Republican Rep. Dave Reichert; it grew by 23.8 percent, putting its popultion 20.6 percent higher than the redistricting target.
The 9th district that Rep. Adam Smith of Tacoma represents (from Lacey to Tukwila along Interstate 5) grew by 23.8 percent, leaving it 7.5 percent too large. Like the 3rd it could be in the middle of boundary changes once the bipartisan, citizen-led Redistricting Commission starts work later next month in a bid to equalize population in the congressional districts at about 672,454 people each.
Here is the district by district look at the nine existing congressional districts. By one perspective, the 10th could go in between the 3rd and 9th. Or the new district could go south of Lake Washington, siphoning some of Reichert's district, and pushing Smith's district southward into Thurston County. Or a completely different approach might emerge using northeast King County.
The state's 49 legislative districts also face adjustments to about 137,236 people each, and here is the commission's report on growth in each of those.
Statewide, the top three fastest growing counties were Clark, Snohomish and Pierce – with only Clark and Snohomish exceeding the statewide growth of 14.1 percent.
The 2nd Legislative District that overlaps Pierce and Thurston counties was the fastest growing legislative district in the state at 36 percent, as The Olympian's news partner Jordan Schrader of The News Tribune posted here.
That 2nd district growth was well above the 14.1 percent statewide growth and puts it 19.3 percent above its target population.
The 2nd – a rural area with a conservative or libertarian political bent – includes Yelm and Eatonville and likely must give up voters to adjacent districts like the 20th (Lewis and Thurston counties) or 22nd (Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater) or perhaps to the 31st (Bonney Lake and Enumclaw). And that should cause a ripple effect to districts surrounding those.
The 31st in Pierce County grew by 12.6 percent – leaving it about 0.3 percent above target.
The 22nd, which takes in Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater and the north county, population grew by 15.1 percent over the past 10 years – above the state average. The 22nd is now about 3.2 percent above target.
And the 20th, which takes in southwest Thurston and all of Lewis counties, grew by 14.7 percent, putting it 2.8 percent above target. The 35th, which ranges from Mud Bay in west Thurston to Bremerton (including all of Mason County) 12.9 percent, putting it 0.7 percent above target.
On the other hand, the 28th district that runs from DuPont to University Place, is underpopulated – shrinking in population by 0.6 percent. This leaves it 12.9 percent below targets, which means it could have to take from the adjacent 27th and 29th districts, which are also underpopulated. That could cause a riple effect into central Tacoma districts.
For more details, go to the Redistricting Commission's web site, which has charts, history, maps and lots of other information about the redistricting process that is done uniquely in Washington by a bipartisan citizen commission.
UPDATE: The Redistricting Commission's two Democrats and two Republicans plan a special 4 p.m. [today] Friday meeting in Olympia to discuss and maybe appoint an executive director. The event is at 1063 S. Capitol Way near the Capitol Campus in Olympia. A call in number to attend is at 888-334-5778.
2nd UPDATE: Here's a link to a redistricting map from the Spokesman-Review in Spokane and here's a link to that paper's discussion of Eastern Washington impacts from the Census data.
3rd and 4th UPDATES correct my erroneous reading of the Redistricting Commission's congressional and legislative "malaportionment" charts. It also reflects revised calculations by the commission's analysts.