Washington's congressional districts
This article partially describes districts prior to the 2012 redistricting.
From the time that Washington Territory was formed in 1853, through statehood in 1889, Washington Territory elected an at-large non-voting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives. At different times in its history, the state of Washington has also elected one or more representatives At-large statewide.
The First Congressional District of Washington was formed in 1909 when Washington was first broken into districts. Today it encompasses northeastern King County, eastern Snohomish County, Washington, eastern Skagit County, and most of rural Whatcom County. To the north, the 1st District borders Canada. It is currently represented by Democrat Suzan DelBene from Medina, Washington. She replaced fellow Democrat Jay Inslee, who had represented Washington's 1st district from 1999 till his resignation on March 20, 2012 to make his successful bid for governor. DelBene in 2012 beat Republican John Koster in the general election with 53.9% of the vote. Her vote total was very much in line with President Barack Obama, who carried the district with 53.4%.
A special election, also won by DelBene, was simultaneously held on November 6, 2012 to fulfill the remaining two months of Inslee's term in the 112th Congress. DelBene assumed office on November 13, 2012.
The former House seat of powerful U.S. Senator Warren G. Magnuson, the First District was a swing district throughout much of the 1990s, changing hands and parties three times in four elections. Before the election of future U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) in 1992, the district had been in Republican hands for 40 years. Since the 1998 election when Inslee was first elected, the First District has been trending Democratic and Inslee easily won reelection in 2008.
Washington's Second Congressional District encompasses the northern portion of Western Washington from the vicinity of the King/Snohomish county line to the Canadian border, including the San Juan Islands. Since 2001, it has been represented by Democrat Rick Larsen.
Originally created in 1909 when Washington was broken up into districts, the Second District was represented by future U.S. Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson between 1941 and 1953. It was a reliably Democratic district for most of the latter half of the 20th century until the Republican Revolution of 1994, when retiring Rep. Al Swift (D) was replaced by Jack Metcalf (R). Rick Larsen (D) has represented the district since Metcalf's retirement in 2001. In the 2008 election, Larson easily defeated Republican challenger Rick Bart.
In presidential elections, the 2nd District leans Democratic. Al Gore and John Kerry narrowly carried the district in 2000 and 2004 with 48% and 51% of the vote, respectively. In 2008, Barack Obama swept the district with 55.60% of the vote while John McCain received 42%.
The Third Congressional District of Washington encompasses the southernmost portion of Western Washington, from Centralia south to the Columbia River. It includes the counties of Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, and Clark, and the majority of Thurston and Skamania counties. The 3rd district is represented by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas.
Established after the 1900 census, the Third District was represented by Democrats for most of the latter half of the 20th century, until Rep. Jolene Unsoeld was defeated by maverick Republican Linda Smith as part of the Republican Revolution of 1994. Smith retired after two terms and was succeeded by Brian Baird, who himself did not run for re-election in 2010.
In presidential elections, the 3rd District is rather competitive. George W. Bush narrowly carried the district in 2000 with 48% of the vote and again in 2004 with 50%. The district swung Democratic in 2008, giving Barack Obama 52% of the vote and 46% to John McCain.
The Fourth District encompasses a large area of central Washington, covering the counties of Douglas, Grant, Yakima, Franklin, Benton, Okanogan, Klickitat, and Adams. Since 1995, the 4th District has been represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Richard N. "Doc" Hastings, a Republican from Pasco.
Established after the 1910 U.S. Census, the Fourth District is almost 75% urban, though it is often perceived as a rural congressional district and politically conservative and has been dominated by the Republican Party for several decades, with the exception of the 103rd Congress from 1993 to 1995, when it was represented by Democrat Jay Inslee. Hastings defeated Inslee in the 1994 election and has served in Congress ever since; Inslee later moved to Bainbridge Island and was sent back to Congress representing the First District in the central Puget Sound area. In the 2008 election, Hastings easily defeated challenger George Fearing (D-Kennewick).
In presidential elections, the 4th District is a Republican stronghold. George W. Bush carried the district in 2000 and 2004 with 62% and 63% of the vote, respectively. The 4th District also gave John McCain 58% of the vote in 2008, his strongest showing in Washington.
The Fifth District encompasses the Eastern Washington counties of Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, Whitman, Columbia, Garfield, Asotin, and part of Walla Walla county. Since 2005, the 5th District has been represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican. Rodgers's predecessor, George Nethercutt, somewhat famously defeated Tom Foley, the then Speaker of the House in the 1994 elections.
In presidential elections, the 5th District has generally been a safe bet for the Republicans. Although George W. Bush carried the district with 57% in 2000 and 2004, John McCain just narrowly won the district with 52% of the vote while Barack Obama received 46% in 2008.
The Sixth District encompasses the Olympic Peninsula, the Kitsap Peninsula, and part of the city of Tacoma. Since 1977, the 6th District has been represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Norm Dicks, a Democrat from Bremerton.
Established after the 1930 U.S. Census, the 6th District is a working class district, with many of its jobs provided by tourism and a declining timber industry on the Pacific and Juan de Fuca coasts, and by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. Dicks, who has served in the U.S. Congress for more than a decade longer than any other member of the Washington delegation, is known as a so-called "defense Democrat" who is hawkish on national defense and takes moderate positions on many issues. Dicks did not face serious opposition in the 2008 election. The sixth district is now represented by Derek Kilmer of Port Angeles.
The Seventh District encompasses most of Seattle, Vashon Island and portions of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Tukwila, SeaTac, and Burien. Since 1989, the 7th District has been represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Jim McDermott, a Democrat.
A Democratic stronghold, Al Gore swept the 7th District in 2000 with 72% of the vote while John Kerry won 79% of the vote in the district in 2004. Barack Obama took in 84% of the vote in the district in 2008.
The Eighth District includes the mostly rural eastern parts of King and Pierce counties, Chelan county,and Kittitas county. It is currently represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Republican Dave Reichert.
Despite the Democratic voting advantage in the district, the combination of affluent suburban areas, exurban communities, and a sizable Mormon population gives this district unmistakable GOP flavor. This district could be compared to Illinois's 10th congressional district or Connecticut's 4th congressional district in terms of voting patterns.
Since its creation after the 1980 U.S. Census, the 8th District has been the only Republican bastion west of the Cascade Mountains; it has never elected a Democrat to the U.S. Congress. Prior to the 2012 redistricting, however, the changing demographics of the Puget Sound region made the 8th District significantly less conservative, with voters in the district narrowly favoring Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, and favoring Democrat Barack Obama by almost 15 points over Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
The Ninth District encompasses a long, somewhat narrow area in western Washington that largely follows Interstate 5 and Interstate 405 through the densely populated central Puget Sound region, from Tacoma in the south to Bellevue in the north. Since 1997, the 9th District has been represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Adam Smith, a Democrat from SeaTac.
The 9th district was established after the 1990 U.S. Census, and was originally drawn as a "fair fight" district. The first representative from the 9th District, Mike Kreidler (D), was defeated after one term by conservative Republican Randy Tate; Tate, in turn, was defeated after one term by Smith. Kreidler currently serves as the Washington Commissioner of Insurance, and Tate went on to succeed Ralph Reed as executive director of the Christian Coalition. Since being first elected in 1996, Smith's moderate voting record and a strong Democratic trend in the Puget Sound region have turned the formerly contentious district into a fairly safe Democratic seat. He won reelection easily in the 2008 election.
Following the 2010 U.S. Census, a Tenth District was created in 2012. The Tenth District includes much of Thurston county and western Pierce county. In the November 6th, 2012 election Representative Denny Heck was elected to represent the 10th District. Heck won with 58.6% of the vote over Richard (Dick) Muri. President Barack Obama carried 55.3% of the 10th District vote in 2012.
- 2008 Race Tracker. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- Washington State Redistricting Commission
- Find your new congressional district: a searchable map, Seattle Times, January 13, 2012