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Proposed congressional maps shift the northern border of District 3

Congressional districts

The current Congressional map for Washington. The proposed changes for District 3 would lose Klickitat County and expand the northern edge of the district to varying degrees.

Redistricting maps released Tuesday would see Washington’s Third Congressional District expand north, though the amount of change varies widely.

Each of the four members of the Washington State Redistricting Commission published a proposed map for the state’s new congressional district boundaries. The commission has two Democrat and two Republican members along with a fifth, nonpartisan commission leader.

The redistricting process is held once a decade, after the U.S. Census results are released, to create legislative and congressional districts with equal populations. All 10 of Washington’s congressional districts need to represent as close to 770,500 residents as possible.

All four of the proposed maps would keep the balance of power in District 3 centered around Clark County and Cowlitz County. Klickitat County would be moved into the Fourth District in all scenarios.

The maps proposed by the Democrat appointees on the commission, April Sims and Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, would cause the smallest changes to the district. One map redrew the boundary in Thurston County to include Rainier and Tenino, while the other shifted away from Thurston completely and expanded through Pierce County.

Republican Paul Graves’ proposed map would shift Skamania County into District 4 and move the northern boundaries further into Thurston County to account for the difference. East Olympia would be added into the district, though Rainier would not.

The map proposed by Joe Fain, the other GOP appointee, would be the starkest difference. Pacific County, Skamania County and the western part of Lewis County all would be moved out of District 3. Larger chunks of both Pierce and Thurston counties would be added into the district, with the northern ends reaching all the way to Rocky Ridge and the Nisqually Indian Community.

None of the proposed maps would severely affect the current Congressional candidates. Incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her two most prominent Republican challengers, Joe Kent and Heidi St. John, have residences in Clark County and should remain in the district regardless of the final map.

PlanScore, a national nonpartisan project that analyzes redistricting maps, evaluated the proposed maps late Tuesday. Republicans would be heavily favored in districts 3, 4 and 5 in all scenarios. Statewide, PlanScore indicated Democrats would be favored in between five and seven congressional races depending on the map.

The redistricting commission will hold two statewide public hearings over the next weeks to hear citizen feedback to these maps and the legislative maps unveiled last week. People can also draw and submit their own legislative and congressional maps through the state redistricting website.

The commission will vote on the final statewide maps by mid-November. If three of the five commissioners agree on a map, it will advance to the Legislature. A two-thirds majority in each chamber is needed for any amendments to the commission’s proposed boundaries.

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