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Washington - 6th District

Incumbent -- Norm Dicks (D) ; Will retire at end of current term (announced March 2, 2012)

Safe Democratic
Race Ratings Key
 

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 6th includes the Olympic Mountains, which drop to the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the district's west. The lush Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest constitute more than one-third of the 6th's land and make the area a very popular tourist destination. Surrounding the mountainous region, communities are striving to move beyond the timber and fishing industries.

To the southwest, the Port of Grays Harbor is a shipping center. Port Angeles and Port Townsend along the Olympic Peninsula's northern and eastern shores rely on the ferries, airports and bridges that deliver tourists and connect residents to the central Puget Sound area.

More than half of the 6th's residents live near Tacoma and its suburbs in the south Puget Sound region. Revitalization efforts near the waterfront and the University of Washington-Tacoma lured some people back to downtown, but many areas of the city have shed residents since 2000. Once a key railroad terminus, the city's economy still relies on manufacturing and shipping jobs. Cargo shipping revenue losses have hurt the 6th, but a military presence in the eastern portion of the district stabilizes the economy. Bremerton, located north of Tacoma, is home to naval facilities, and the 6th has a large Coast Guard presence.

Tacoma's blue-collar, heavily unionized electorate gives Democrats the edge in the district's portion of Pierce County. But independent voters, who can be socially moderate, have prevented the 6th from moving out of the reach of the GOP. Barack Obama took 57 percent of the district's 2008 presidential vote, but Patty Murray won only 53 percent here in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

Major Industry

Shipping, timber, fishing, health care, tourism

Military Bases

Naval Base Kitsap, 15,600 military, 13,700 civilian (shared with the 1st) (2011); Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, 560 military, 9,900 civilian (2009)

Cities

Tacoma (pt.), 179,868; Bremerton, 37,729; University Place, 31,144; Lakewood (pt.), 27,277; Parkland (unincorporated) (pt.), 26,657

Notable

Port Townsend celebrates the rhododendron bloom with "Rhody Fest."

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