Evan Smith: A new Congressional seat for Washington; probably little local effect

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

The news that Washington will have a tenth Congressional seat beginning in 2012 probably will have little local effect.

We can only speculate on new district lines until the State’s commission on Congressional and legislative redistricting reports in January of 2012, but most observers expect the new Congressional district to be created in the South Puget Sound area, where the population has grown most.

That means carving out parts of the 3rd, 8th, and 9th Congressional districts, and maybe some from the 6th District.

That would leave most the 1st Congressional District with little change, although each of the nine current districts will have to shrink a little.

Expect most of north King and south Snohomish counties to stay in the 1st District, which might lose part of its Kitsap County portion and take some of central Snohomish County from the 2nd District and the small part of Lake Forest Park that is now in the 7th District.

The bipartisan commission doesn't favor either party, but sometimes it seems to protect incumbents. That would mean keeping the Bainbridge Island part of Kitsap County -- where 1st District Congressman Jay Inslee lives -- in the 1st District.

Editor's note: Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are in the 1st and 7th Congressional Districts where incumbents Jay Inslee and Jim McDermott were easily reelected in November.

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