The four voting members of Washington state’s redistricting commission released separate Congressional redistricting proposals Tuesday, kicking off more than three months of negotiations and public review.
Their maps vary based on where they inserted the state’s new 10th district, which it gained through reapportionment. The new district’s effect on how many districts reach into Seattle and how Olympia’s Thurston County is split up could drastically affect the partisan breakdown of the delegation after the 2012 elections.
For instance, Commissioner Slade Gorton (R), a former Senator, released a map that consolidates Rep. Rick Larsen’s (D) 2nd district, including his home in Everett, into an area that includes the Seattle suburbs and cuts out the state’s northwestern counties. It also cuts the Seattle suburb Bellevue out of the district of Rep. Dave Reichert (R), a perennial Democratic target.
Democrat Denny Heck, who ran for the open 3rd district seat last year, has already announced his candidacy and is awaiting a map to figure out where he’ll be running. His campaign released an advisory that it will hold off on comment until the process is complete.
The redistricting commission consists of two Democrats, two Republicans and one non-voting chairman. Its deadline to adopt a Congressional map and send it to the state Legislature for approval is Jan. 1. The previous two commissions have needed every second of their allotted time, completing the plans on New Year’s Eve.
Correction: Sept. 13, 2011
An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the proposed changes to Rep. Rick Larsen's district and misstated where his home is located.