Monday, June 04, 2012
Better know the 11th Legislative District
[Cross-posted (and slightly revised) from HorsesAss]
Number two in my series on redistricting is another Seattle-area LD with an open seat. Two of them, actually, thought one of these will assuredly be filled by the incumbent whose seat will be open in this election. Confused yet? We’re talking, of course, about the 11th District.
NOTE: click on the “Show more...” link below to view the key that defines what the various colors and other symbols on the maps actually mean.
The 11th District is one of the most oddly-shaped LDs in the state, seeming to wrap around the southern shores of Lake Washington without ever actually reaching the lake itself. It’s an industrial and commercial district, thrusting into the port-oriented southwest portion of Seattle in addition to Tukwila, parts of Kent, and some of Renton. Under the 2001 Legislative District map, the bulk of its land area was in that Duwamish River portion of the 11th District. The LD reached almost to the center of Burien. Perhaps your imagination is better than mine, because I can’t think of a metaphor that describes the shape of 11th Legislative District. Its 2001 borders, at the scale of 1:80,000, are shown below:
Viewed by itself, the new version of the 11th LD doesn’t seem all that different from the 2001 map. It remains misshapen, so much so that it (like the 2001 version) might remind you of this infamous image from a Massachusetts newspaper cartoon:
Looking at the new 11th LD more carefully, though, we observe that it no longer reaches, or even approaches, Burien. Also, the district’s border has been “notched” to exclude central Renton, and the 11th extends quite a bit farther to the east than had the 2001 iteration of the Legislative District.
The bulk of the 11th District falls within the 9th Congressional District, and it contributes appreciably to the fiction that the new WA-09 is a majority-minority district. A small portion of the 11th, mostly warehouses between I-5 and SR-99, is in the 7th Congressional District. The suburban-to-rural easternmost part of the new 11th LD falls within WA-08.
When the 2001 and 2011 versions of the 11th Legislative District are superimposed on one another, the locational shift is readily apparent. Some of the changes are fairly small (a precinct here, a precinct there). The loss of Highline and Burien is easy to see, as is the large swath of suburbia, perhaps even exurbia, that is now part of the LD. Industrial grit meets tract houses and strip malls.
Will these alterations in the boundaries of the district change its rock-solid Democratic status? In my opinion, the 11th is somewhat less liberal than it was in 2001, but that doesn’t mean a thing in terms of its representation in Olympia. The Senator and Representatives from the 11th Legislative District are guaranteed to be Democrats, in 2012 and into the foreseeable future.
While it is correct to say that Senator Prentice is retiring, I wonder whether she would have stayed on if she hadn’t been redistricted out of the 11th LD. One might almost suspect that the Renton “notch” I mentioned earlier was created so as to remove her from the district. Unlike Representative Kagi of the 32nd LD (who moved back into her district), Senator Prentice chose to retire rather than try to win office in her new LD, the 37th. Then again, the Senate seat in the 37th isn’t up in this election cycle, so unless she wanted to run for the House she would have had to sit out for a couple of years anyway. Might she unretire and take on Adam Kline in 2014? I have my doubts, as she would be 73 by then.
There’s no doubt that Bob Hasegawa will win the 11th LD Senate seat in November. Even with the addition of a lot of less-than-urban territory, this remains a solidly Democratic district. Hasegawa is well known as a leader in labor and social justice issues, fitting very well with the nature of the 11th. I would have called him a perfect fit if the 11th had retained its previous borders, but this isn’t quite the same district as before. His opponent is a token Republican who didn’t even name the correct office on her C1 form (it says “State Representative").
Zack Hudgins briefly flirted with a run for Secretary of State this cycle, but decided against it a couple of months ago. So he’s running for reelecion to the House 1 seat. He’s opposed by a Democrat who got into the race when it looked like an open seat. Jim Flynn appears to be a serious candidate—his campaign treasurer is Phil Lloyd, whose other clients include Jim McDermott—but I don’t think Hudgins has all that much to worry about.
The big action in the 11th is in the House 2 seat, currently occupied by Hasegawa. Four Democrats are vying for the position, as well as a lone (irrelevant) Republican. All of the Dems have raised decent money so far; the one with the most name recognition, Port Commissioner Rob Holland, has taken in the least. Far ahead of the others, at nearly $250,000(!), is Bobby Virk. As I write this, only one Legislature candidate in the entire state (a self-funding Democrat running for the open Senate seat in the 27th LD) has taken in more money than Virk, who is definitely not trying to buy himself a place in Olympia. His personal contribution to his campaign is negligible.
Clearly, although there are nominally two open seats in the 11th Legislative District, one of those is already spoken for. In the House 2 position, I can’t imagine that Bobby Virk will finish third or lower in the primary. He has, after all, taken in more than three times what his opponents have ... combined. Who will join him on the general election ballot? I have no idea. Perhaps someone more familiar with the 11th Legislative District can edify my readers.
Key to symbology in the LD maps
All Legislative District maps in this series share a number of characteristics in common:
- Each of the maps of the specified LD shows exactly the same geographic area, in a scale that’s appropriate for such a display. I’ll report that scale within the text of the post.
- County names are displayed as ALL-CAPS BLACK ITALICS, and their borders are shown as heavy black lines.
- Precinct boundaries are gray lines.
- Red lines are major roads, generally Interstate, Federal, and State highways.
- As you’d expect, bodies of water are shown as blue areas.
- The blue “dot in square" symbols represent cities and towns, with the names of larger communities displayed in a font of the same color.
For the first map of a given Legislative District—the region within the 2001 boundaries of the LD—add the following:
- The 2001 version of the LD is shaded in a pink/purple color.
- Where the LD borders cover bodies of water, the LD area is just purple.
The second map in the series for the LD—its new extent under the 2011 redistricting—adds the following to the characteristics common to all maps:
- The 2011 version of the Legislative District is displayed as a green region.
- Liquid portions of the LD are shown in a slightly different shade of green.
- On this map, the LD is labeled in LARGE BLACK CAPS. There’s also something of a white highlighting on the LD label.
- This map also displays the borders of the new Congressional Districts, marked by thick dashed blue lines. The CDs are labeled in GREEN ITALICS, as “WA-x“.
The third map of the LD superimposes its 2011 and 2001 boundaries. To eliminate a bit of clutter, the Congressional District borders aren’t shown on this one. In this map:
- Territory lost in redistricting (within the LD in 2001, but not in 2011) is shaded in the same pink/purple color that we saw in the first of the three maps.
- Areas that have been added to the LD in the redistricting (not part of the LD in 2001, within the LD in 2011) appear in the same green shading found in the second map.
- Where the two LD boundaries coincide (within the LD in both the 2001 and 2011 maps), that region is shaded brown.