Washington 6th District
The rainiest part of the continental United States is its far northwest corner, where the Olympic Mountains of Washington thrust into the Pacific Ocean. The waters of the Pacific evaporate, condense and then mist or rain down on the hills and mountains that jut up from the ocean and Puget Sound. The mountains here are always green, the trees that line the inlets towering, and during heavy rainfalls, the rivers can rise six feet a day. This has long been lumbering and fishing country, where people start work at 6 a.m. and where the vagaries of nature and environmental laws—like the ban on old-growth logging to protect the habitat of the spotted owl—have strengthened a traditional surly independence and suspicion of authority. Still, respect for the beauty of nature endures, including at the 3,310-square-mile Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, a vast underwater reserve. There are some fears that too much land is being bought up to build subdivisions and second homes.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The many inlets of Puget Sound, winding sinuously through mountains, are among America’s most picturesque waterways and strategically among its most important. During World War II, shipyards were built to shelter much of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet, and during the Cold War, much of the nuclear submarine fleet was anchored at the giant Bremerton Navy base. The Tacoma Straits Bridge was built to replace a narrow span that, in a scene preserved on newsreel and still viewed by civil engineering students, started vibrating on the wrong harmonic in high winds and collapsed in 1940. On the other side is Tacoma, long the second-ranking city on Puget Sound, with its massive docks, former pulp mills, pleasant hilly residential neighborhoods and recently revived waterfront.
The 6th Congressional District of Washington includes the Olympic Peninsula, Bremerton, much of surrounding Kitsap County and most of Tacoma. Politically, the Olympic Peninsula and Bremerton are working-class Democratic. Tacoma also is traditionally Democratic. Seattle and King County were somewhat more Republican than Tacoma and Pierce County as late as the early 1980s, but now they are much more heavily Democratic. In 2004, the district voted 53%-45% for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and in 2008, it voted 57%-41% for Democrat Barack Obama.