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Politics

Breaking Down the New Washington Map

December 28, 2011
However, one Democrat who's likely not too pleased with the shape of the new 1st is Darcy Burner, who will be running on much less favorable turf. Burner, a favorite of liberals, ran close races against Reichert in a swing district in 2006 and 2008, but came up short against the former King County sheriff. She may struggle to win the nomination, and given the demographic composition of this seat, it doesn't look favorable for her at all. -- Majority Minority ... But Barely: Democratic Rep. Adam Smith's 9th District becomes Washington's first-ever majority-minority district by the slimmest of margins. Its population, centered just south of Seattle, will be 50.3 percent non-white. Minority groups had pushed for a majority-minority open seats but appeared pleased with the results. Under the old map, the highest concentration of minorities in a single congressional district was 40 percent, in GOP Rep. Doc Hastings's Yakima-based 4th District. The 4th also got more heavily minority, reflecting the massive growth of Washington's non-white population over the last 10 years. Smith may not be thrilled with his new district, but while it is majority-minority, it is not dominated by one ethnic group: the new 9th is 12 percent Hispanic, 12 percent black and 21 percent Asian, which guards against the threat of a potential challenger potentially playing identity politics in the district. It's also worth noting that Tim Ceis, a Democrat on the commission, proposed the majority-minority seat, angering Democrats.
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