Washington 8th District
The land east of Seattle’s Lake Washington half a century ago was quiet countryside. Orchards and vineyards flourished in the rich, moist soil just below the rise of the Cascades Mountains, while farms and broad pasturelands spread toward 14,410-foot Mount Rainier like a living green quilt. But as Seattle has grown over the years, people have crossed the pontoon bridge across Mercer Island to Bellevue and have made this area one of the most vibrant parts of metropolitan Seattle. With 121,000 people, almost a quarter of them of Asian descent, and enough office space to make it an edge city, Bellevue has grown out of the shadow of Seattle. Its tallest skyscraper has hit the city’s 450-foot height limit, a departure from the strip malls and parking lots that that defined downtown a quarter century ago. While downtown Seattle specialized in banks and law firms and trading companies, Bellevue and other communities in Overlake specialized in high-tech start-ups. Redmond is the headquarters of Microsoft, and dozens of other firms here help make it one of America’s leading high-tech centers.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 8th Congressional District of Washington takes in most of the eastern edge of metro Seattle. It includes most of Bellevue, Mercer Island and the affluent suburbs on Lake Washington—Medina, Clyde Hill, Yarrow Point, Hunts Point, Beaux Arts. It includes Bill Gates’ $60 million, 66,000-square-foot high-tech home with its trampoline room, video walls that can be electronically programmed with art from the world’s great museums, and a garage large enough to hold 30 cars. According to the King County Assessor’s office, annual property taxes on the house exceed $1 million. The 8th also includes the suburbs to the south in King and Pierce counties. It goes east to the crest of the Cascades Mountains and encompasses all of Mount Rainier and one of the nation’s last inland old-growth rain forests. This is the most affluent district in Washington, rivaled only by the 1st District in suburban Seattle. Politically, it is a swing district. In 2004, Democratic nominee John Kerry won it 51% to 48%, and in 2008, Democrat Barack Obama won it 57%-42%.