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Washington - 8th District

Incumbent -- Dave Reichert (R) ; Running for re-election

Leans Republican
Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

This is a top pickup opportunity nearly every cycle for Democrats, but they haven't been able to knock off Reichert even in two straight cycles with favorable environments for the party.

It's difficult to see how things will change in such a down year for the party.

Reichert's challenger this year is Suzan DelBene (D), a wealthy former Microsoft executive who has been attacking Reichert over the TV airwaves. DelBene, who is partially self-funding the race, is painting Reichert as "just another politician only looking out for himself."

The Seattle Times, once favorable toward Reichert, took the unusual step of endorsing two of his opponents in August's top-two primary, including DelBene. Reichert finished well ahead anyway.

While this race is a top-10 pickup opportunity for Democrats, defending the neighboring 2nd and 3rd districts is a far bigger priority for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 8th is Washington's wealthiest district, and it takes in the prosperous King County suburbs outside Seattle in its west as well as large rural areas in its east and south. Seattle's Eastside suburbs have been fertile ground for technology businesses, and the area's development caused traffic congestion and fueled debates over infrastructure upgrades and "smart" growth.

The 8th's population center is Bellevue, which is a retail and financial services hub and one of the state's most diverse areas; nearly one-fourth of the city's population is Asian and more than 30 percent is foreign-born. Microsoft has a key presence in Bellevue, and its headquarters are in the 8th's portion of Redmond. Boeing Co. is a major employer, and its local facilities will build a new Air Force tanker. Bellevue's corporate residents also include the travel website Expedia and truck manufacturer PACCAR.

The 8th takes in most of the rest of King County to the east and a large portion of Pierce County, including the fringes of Tacoma's suburbs. The less populous portions of King and Pierce are home to wide-ranging farm production, including berries, vegetables, livestock and nursery plants. The eastern halves of King and Pierce rise into the Cascade Range. Most of Mount Rainier National Park -- including the peak itself, which is the highest point in Washington and in the Cascades -- is within the 8th.

The 8th's population boom has added some urban and Democratic votes. Beyond the suburbs, the electorate tends to be fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Barack Obama took 56 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential election, but GOP candidate Dino Rossi narrowly won the district in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. The area's growing number of minority voters will continue to influence elections.

Major Industry

Aviation, manufacturing, computer software

Cities

Bellevue, 122,363; South Hill (unincorporated) (pt.), 49,250; Renton (pt.), 48,206; Sammamish, 45,780; Kent (pt.), 41,946; Auburn (pt.), 41,711

Notable

Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states.

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