For any who may be reading this series for the first time: this is a thought experiment where I try to see what would happen if the size of the House of Representatives were doubled to 870 members from 435. This series is both highly theoretical and very unlikely to ever occur.
These two states were relatively neutral to us this redistricting cycle. Washington, which gained a seat in the 2010 census, redistricts using a bipartisan commission, which created a new lean Democratic district, while at the same time weakening another Dem district and pushing a swingy district more to the right. So of course, I wanted to try and see what I could do without that whole "bipartisan" business.
Montana, of course, is an at-large state, so congressional redistricting did nothing for or against us.
Link to the adopted plan in Washington.
Washington gets 19 districts.
DRA only has election data for two races in Washington: President 2008 and Senate 2010. 2008 was a rather typical election for a Democrat running for President, while 2010 was the closest federal election since Maria Cantwell's upset victory over long-term incumbent Slade Gorton in 2000. So between these two races, we should get a good idea what these districts look like politically.
VAP: 84.4 White, 7.9 Hispanic
57.1 Obama, 51.7 Murray
Open. The very blue counties of San Juan and Whatcom, swingy Skagit County and a small part of Snohomish. Pretty close to the statewide total for both races, but about half a point redder. It would take a colossal failure by the Dem nominee to lose this. Likely D
VAP: 79.4 W, 7.2 H, 7 Asian
56.1 Obama, 50.9 Murray
Open? Rick Larsen is registered to vote in Everett but most media sources list his residence as Lake Stevens, which is located in the 3rd. Swingy Island County and part of Snohomish, including the cities of Everett and Marysville. Same as before, but a slightly worse again for Obama/Murray, this time by 1.5 points off the statewide performance. Still, the Boeing town Everett provides a good boost for Democrats. If Larsen runs here, he takes a small hit in Obama performance, but he'd be fine. Likely D again.
VAP: 76.2 W, 7.1 H, 11.1 A
57.9 Obama, 50.5 Murray
Rick Larsen (D-Lake Stevens?) lives here? See above for the confusion. Snohomish County. Even if Larsen doesn't live here, he may want to run here, he gets a small boost in Obama performance as opposed to the small hit in the 2nd. Obama outperforms Murray in this district. Likely D
VAP: 79.8 W, 5.2 H, 7.8 A
59.8 Obama, 55.8 Murray
Open. Edmonds in Snohomish County, Shoreline in King, and crosses Puget Sound to take in parts of Kitsap and Jefferson Counties. Edmonds and Kingston (Kitsap) are connected by ferry, so I don't feel too bad about this sleight-of-hand. Safe D, and I'd point out that openly gay State Rep. Marko Liias lives in Edmonds. Just sayin'.
VAP: 79.7 W, 5.2 H, 11 A
60.8 Obama, 53.3 Murray
Open. Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond and rural King County, including North Bend and Black Diamond. Safe D
VAP: 68.2 W, 5.5 Black, 6.6 H, 16.2 A
58.9 Obama, 51.7 Murray
Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) lives here. Sammamish, Issaquah, Renton, Covington and rural King and Pierce Counties. The large disparity between Obama and Murray's performance gives me pause, but even Reichert would probably go down in this district, his current district is only 56.6 Obama. Reichert probably attempts a run in the new 11th.
Lean D with Reichert
Safe D if open
VAP: 59.8 W, 7.9 B, 5.8 H, 23.1 A
76.2 Obama, 71.5 Murray
Open. Bellevue, Mercer Island and half of Seattle. Only note I have is that Suzan DelBene grew up on Mercer Island. Also, the large Asian population could give them a chance in the primary. Safe D
VAP: 75.8 W, 5.3 H, 10.8 A
84.6 Obama, 81.5 Murray
Jim McDermott (D-Seattle) lives here; Jay Inslee (D-Bainbridge Island) resigned last month. Seattle and Bainbridge Island. McDerms already represents probably 90% of these constituents, he just gains Bainbridge Island. The bluest district in the state.Safe D
VAP: 61.6 W, 8.1 B, 12.4 H, 14 A
69.9 Obama, 65.9 Murray
Open. Part of Seattle, Vashon Island, Burien, SeaTac, Des Moines, Kent and part of Auburn, all in King County. Safe D
VAP: 65.1 W, 10.1 B, 9.2 H, 9.8 A
62.6 Obama, 58.2 Murray
Adam Smith (D-Tacoma), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, lives here. Tacoma and suburbs. Slightly less blue than his new WA-09, this district will be fine for the slightly hawkish Armed Services Ranking Member. Safe D
VAP: 71.6 W, 5.1 B, 9 H, 9.8 A
55.2 Obama, 49.5 Murray (Rossi win by ~1150)
Open. Federal Way and half of Auburn in King County, Pullayup in Pierce County. I speculated above that Dave Reichert would run here; it's the King County-area district with the lowest Obama performance, and it's actually the first district so far that Patty Murray has lost. albeit barely. His current district is 56.6% Obama, so this might actually represent an improvement, but even that may not be true, there are a lot of new constituents here, not least of which is Pierce County, which unlike King County is not used to voting for him for the past 20 years. So not sure how to handicap it, so I'll just say Swing.
VAP: 80.2 W, 5.7 H, 6.4 A
56.8 Obama, 52.2 Murray
Open. Olympia/Lacey and part of Pierce County. Former State Rep. Denny Heck, who is already running for the new Olympia area WA-10, would run here. Likely D
VAP: 87.1 W, 5 H
52.8 Obama, 48.2 Murray
Open; Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) lives here. The Olympic Peninsula and the west coast of the state. State Senator Derek Kilmer, who is already running to replace Dicks, and also lives here, but this district is much more swingy than the district he's running for now. If the Washington Republicans counter with another respected state legislator, this is Swing. If they nominate a yahoo, it's Lean D.
VAP: 83.4 W, 11.9 H
41.3 Obama, 35.8 Murray
Open. Central part of the state, smack dab on the Cascade Mountains, based in Wenatchee and Yakima suburbs. A brand-new GOP vote sink. Safe R
VAP: 83.8 W, 6.6 H
55.3 Obama, 48.9 Murray
Open. Vancouver and part of Cowlitz County. Since Vancouver elects its mayors on a nonpartisan basis, I don't know if there's a recent former mayor (or the current mayor) who could run here, but perhaps an area legislator would be a good get for the Dems. Lean D
VAP: 66.5 W, 26.4 H
46.9 Obama, 40.3 Murray
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Camas) lives here. Yakima and into the Vancouver Metro. Washington Democrats are afraid of Herrera Beutler, and they should be. She's young, Hispanic, and charismatic. She'd be hard to eliminate, so instead I decided to marginalize her by giving her a district that would make it hard to launch a statewide campaign. Enjoy being a House lifer, Jaime. Safe R
VAP: 73.9 W, 20.3 H
37 Obama, 35.5 Murray
Doc Hastings (R-Pasco), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, lives here. Southeast corner of the state. Worst district in the state for either Obama or Murray. Safe R
VAP: 85.1 W
54.3 Obama, 49.8 Murray (Rossi win by >500)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane) lives here. Pullman, Spokane, and Native American areas of the east-central part of the state. Rodgers would instead parachute into the 19th, because she could not survive here. Democrats would run any of the 3 state legislators who are from Spokane, but most likely 14-year incumbent state Senator Lisa J. Brown, or former Mayor Mary Verner. Lean D
VAP: 84.3 W, 10.6 H
38.9 Obama, 34.2 Murray
Open. Blood-red northeast corner of the state. As I said, Cathy McMorris Rodgers would run here instead of her home district of the 18th. Safe R
So, from a 5-4 delegation on a 5-2-2 map, to a new map that would likely end up being 6-3-1, to a 19 district map that (I believe) would be 14-4-1. A good map for us.
Montana goes from one district to three! Montana is already one of the most underrepresented states in the House of Representatives.
DRA has no political data, but since I only split one county, I decided to use the great resource that is uselectionatlas.org to calculate the percentages for the 2008 Presidential election (narrow Obama loss), the 2004 gubernatorial election (narrow Schweitzer win) and Senate 2006 (narrow Tester win, with a plurality). This is probably the most labor-intensive map I've ever done in this series so far, so you little shits better be appreciative =P
VAP: 86.7 W, 8.4 Native
48.5 Obama (Obama win by ~2700), 51.3 Tester, 50.6 Schweitzer
Open. Missoula, Kalispell, and the heavily Native American counties along the Canadian border. The Dem stronghold of Missoula makes this the best district for all three races. For Montana, I'd call this Likely D
VAP: 94.2 W
48 Obama (McCain win by ~1300), 49.5 Tester (Tester win by ~2200), 50.2 Schweitzer
Open. The west part of the state, with the liberal bastions (for Montana) of Butte and Helena counteracted by the larger and swingy city of Bozeman. Again, this is pretty decently Dem seat considering the source. Lean D
VAP: 88.9 W, 5.5 N
44.6 Obama, 46.6 Tester, 50.5 Schweitzer
Open; Denny Rehberg (R-Billings) is running for Senate. Swingy Billings and Dem-leaning Great Falls drowned out by the vast swath of cow counties. State Senator Kim Gillan, who is running for the House, also lives in Billings, but probably wouldn't relish running in a district that was redder than the state at large. The fact that Schweitzer won it in 2004 is comforting sign, it's not a lost cause. Likely R.
Montana goes from a 0-1 delegation to a possible 2-1.
These two states together make a 16-5-1, bringing the House as a whole so far to 333-220-52
As always, any feedback is appreciated