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Redistricting: 3 of 4 maps would create majority-minority congressional districts

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm with No Comments »
September 13, 2011 2:30 pm

There’s a majority in favor of majority-minority.

Three of the four people drawing Washington’s political lines favor creating a congressional district where racial and ethnic minorities make up the majority.

Washington’s congressional districts must be redrawn using 2010 Census results, including a new district the state was awarded because of population gain. The four members of the Redistricting Commission will draw those lines, and today they laid out their opening positions.

Each of the men was appointed by a caucus in the Legislature (House Democrats, Senate Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Republicans). And of those, only the House Democrats’ representative, Dean Foster, did not propose a majority-minority congressional district.

The two Republicans and one Democrat who proposed majority-minority districts said — echoing a coalition of advocates for minority groups — they would better ensure minorities would be represented. Foster said he drew districts so that two had large minority populations, rather than one that topped 50 percent.

Underlying all of this is an obvious fact: While different groups have different voting pattern, racial minorities as a whole tend to vote Democrat. The commissioners didn’t put it in these terms, but Republicans believe creating one heavily minority district will help them make gains in other districts that will shed minorities.

Senate Democrats’ representative Tim Ceis also called for such a district. It will take someone who knows more about political demography than me to say whether that’s smart politics, but it would seem Ceis thinks he can draw a majority-minority district in such a way that it doesn’t hand over an advantage to Republicans.

Ceis’s map is a lot like Foster’s in one respect: It tries to make sure six of 10 districts lean toward Democrats. That in turn makes Republican Reps. Dave Reichert and Jaime Herrera Beutler more safe.

Republican members Slade Gorton and Tom Huff both tried to create five of 10 districts that lean toward their party.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: Here are links to all the maps, and forms to comment on each of them — or send a general message.


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