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Washington - 9th District

Incumbent -- Adam Smith (D) ; Running for re-election

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

Taking in numerous cities in the south Puget Sound region, the 9th runs south of Seattle along Interstate 5 before picking up small parts of Tacoma and Olympia, the state capital, en route to rural areas that offer spectacular views of Mount Rainier's 14,410-foot peak (in the 8th).

Just south of the Seattle city line, the 9th's northern end takes in predominately middle-class King County suburbs, where just less than half of the population lives. This area includes most of Burien, SeaTac and Tukwila (both shared with the 7th), and Renton (shared with the 8th).

SeaTac, named after the area's main cities, includes the region's major airport and is home to the corporate headquarters for Alaska Air Group. Key employers here include Boeing and timber giant Weyerhaeuser, which has headquarters in Federal Way. A newly realigned "mega-base" linked the 9th's Army and Air Force sites, and construction to accommodate expansion at the base has boosted the economy.

South of King, Pierce County's suburbs account for nearly 40 percent of the 9th's population. Pierce also includes the deep-water Port of Tacoma, which helped diversify the area's economy and attract companies looking for fast distribution opportunities. The portion of Thurston County in the 9th includes part of Olympia (shared with the 3rd) as well as the most rural portion of the district.

Overall, Democrats have gained an edge in the 9th -- Barack Obama won 58 percent of the 9th's 2008 presidential vote, 5 percentage points more than John Kerry took in 2004. Blue-collar aviation and port workers give the party a base throughout the district, but Democrats fare better in the 9th's portions of King and Thurston than in Pierce.

Major Industry

Aviation manufacturing, trade, technology

Military Bases

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 43,375 military, 10,852 civilian (2011)

Cities

Federal Way, 89,306; Kent (pt.), 50,465; Renton (pt.), 41,763; Puyallup (pt.), 36,943; Lacey (pt.), 34,475; Lakewood (pt.), 30,886

Notable

The 17-day Western Washington Fair in Puyallup is the largest annual event in the state.

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