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CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.
District Profile from Politics in America
Lying just east of the Cascade Mountains, the 4th includes some of the state's most fertile land as well as large stretches of the Columbia River (shared with the 3rd and 5th), which works its way down the middle of the district before turning west to form most of the state's border with Oregon.
Yakima County is the 4th's largest, both in land area and population, and is home to the Yakima Valley, known as the fruit bowl of the Northwest. It includes Yakama Indian Reservation and part of the U.S. Army's Yakima Training Center, which spreads into Kittitas County. Heavily irrigated agriculture drives the valley, which is full of apple orchards and fields of hops. In fact, the valley accounts for 75 percent of the total U.S. hops acreage and hosts the Hop Growers of America.
Benton County to the east takes in the 4th's other population center. The Tri-Cities of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland on the Columbia River are a hotbed for scientific research. This area also is home to the Energy Department's Hanford nuclear site and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is the district's largest employer. Hanford is the nation's most contaminated nuclear site and has been targeted for accelerated cleanup. Projects to demolish parts of the site and construct new facilities to protect groundwater have begun.
The Wenatchee National Forest still provides some timber jobs. The Columbia Basin Project delivers water to the area's wineries and potato, corn and fruit farms. Many of these agrarian areas have attracted populations that are majority Hispanic.
The 4th is the state's most conservative district: It gave John McCain his highest percentage statewide (58 percent) in the 2008 presidential race and did the same for GOP candidate Dino Rossi in the 2010 U.S. Senate election (60 percent).
Scientific research, fruit orchards and other agriculture, timber
Yakima, 91,067; Kennewick, 73,917; Pasco, 59,781; Richland, 48,058
The oldest skeleton ever found in North America was discovered on the banks of the Columbia River near Kennewick in 1996.
|2010||general||Doc Hastings (R)||156,726||67.6%|
|Jay Clough (D)||74,973||32.4%|
|2008||general||Doc Hastings (R)||169,940||63.1%|
|George Fearing (D)||99,430||36.9%|
|2006||general||Doc Hastings (R)||115,246||59.9%|
|Richard Wright (D)||77,054||40.1%|
|2004||general||Doc Hastings (R)||154,627||62.6%|
|Sandy Matheson (D)||92,486||37.4%|
|2002||general||Doc Hastings (R)||108,257||66.9%|
|Craig Mason (D)||53,572||33.1%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 40%||John McCain: 58%|
|2004||John Kerry: 35%||George W. Bush: 63%|
|2000||Al Gore: 34%||George W. Bush: 62%|