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Category: Redistricting


Memorial scheduled Saturday in Gig Harbor for Tom Huff, former state budget architect

A memorial for former state representative Tom Huff will be Saturday, according to friends and family.

The Celebration of Life for Tom Huff will be at 11 a.m. at St. Nicholas Catholic Church at 3510 Rosedale St. NW in Gig Harbor, with a reception to follow.

Most recently, Huff was the House Republican pick for the four-person state commission that finished redrawing Washington’s political boundaries last year.

He served in the state House from 1995 to 2000, where he chaired the Appropriations Committee.

The state budget architect joined the House after a career as an executive for Sears.


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Were seeds for Majority Coalition Caucus in state Senate sewn in Washington Redistricting Commission?

Well, yeah. Sort of.

The so-called coup by 23 formerly minority Republicans and two Democrats that broke in mid-December came just after the final undecided Senate race was decided.

Because it was so close, the race between GOP incumbent Don Benton and challenger Tim Probst wasn’t official until the election was certified. Benton won reelection by 78 votes out of just under 55,000 cast. Once he was in and the GOP total was up to 23 votes, the coalition with Democrats Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon could became a majority of 25.

Did Benton deliver the majority?

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Redistricting critic John Milem dead at 76

John Milem, who the Washington State Redistricting Commission honored for his volunteer work on redrawing the state’s political lines but who remained unsatisfied with results, died Saturday, according to his hometown newspaper, The (Vancouver) Columbian.

Shortly after the redistricting commission finished its once-a-decade work last year, Milem filed a petition with the state Supreme Court to overturn the commission’s maps, arguing they violated redistricting law. He also contended that the redistricting commission engaged in illegal meetings, an assertion that appeared to be borne out by News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan’s review of numerous public records.

The court

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Democrat Denny Heck has big lead in New 10th Congressional District

Democrat Denny Heck grabbed an early lead against Republican Dick Muri in Washington’s new 10th Congressional District and then he expanded it.

Initial returns on Election Night put Heck up 58.43 percent to Muri’s 41.57 percent. The 10th District, stretching from Olympia to Puyallup, was created after redistricting based on the 2010 Census, which gave Washington another congressional seat.

Heck claimed victory in a dimly lit ballroom at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia with state Rep. Chris Reykdal and other Olympia area politicos in attendance. His speech reiterated campaign themes to enthusiastic cheers – touching on local issues, Joint

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Redistricting maps now available in print form

The Washington state Redistricting Commission is making printed copies of the Evergreen State’s new political maps available free to the public.

The commission finished drawing lines to adjust for the state’s new population realities on Jan. 1, and the finished product was immediately available to the public online.

The portal for ordering the maps, which include the state’s new 10th Congressional District, is here.


Supreme Court: Redistricting plan to stand for 2012 races

The Washington Supreme Court issued an order today that leaves new state redistricting plans intact for the 2012 elections, despite a pending legal challenge. Chief Justice Barbara Madsen signed the order, linked here, saying there is too little time before the May 14 filing period to resolve the legal case.

John Milem, a redistricting wonk who helped the Washington State Redistricting Commission refine its map boundaries, filed suit in February. He contended the maps give too much power to King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap that dominate seven of the 10 congressional districts.

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Redistricting challenged in state Supreme Court

The Redistricting Commission honored John Milem for his volunteer work helping redraw the state’s political lines, but while Milem had influence on the details, he wasn’t satisfied the plan was fair in the big picture.

Today the Vancouver man filed a legal challenge in the state Supreme Court saying the plan violates the 1983 law creating the bipartisan redistricting process.

The Legislature gave final approval to the new Congressional and legislative lines last week. But Milem said they help incumbents at the expense of the people they represent — especially the voters outside Puget Sound.

Milem said King, Snohomish,

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U.S. Rep. Adam Smith might see the downside of safe Congressional districts, challenge from inside the party

The Washington Redistricting Commission gave 9th District Rep. Adam Smith a good news-bad news result – a district so strongly Democratic that he is mostly immune from a Republican challenge but more likely to draw a Democratic challenge.

The Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner reports here that Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell is considering just such a challenge. He quotes Harrell’s niece and campaign manager saying, “There is a fantastic opportunity. He has been approached by a number of people to consider it… It is definitely a serious consideration.”

The new district is a majority-minority district and Harrell is the

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