The Washington State Redistricting Commission will unveil its proposals for Western Washington’s legislative districts during a public meeting in Olympia scheduled for 10:30am this morning, new maps that are expected to receive approval from the four commissioners and allow the process to move on to creating the maps for congressional districts and legislative districts in Eastern Washington, a source on the commission tells NW Daily Marker.

Early indications are that the bipartisan commissioners will propose a political landscape on which both parties can see reasonable opportunities to compete, an outcome that could allow Republicans to expand on growing support in the Democrat-dominated western half of the state.

Because the commissioners divided into two teams working the western half of the state in this first phase – one working from King County north, the other focusing on the southwest quadrant – it is likely some rough edges along the Pierce and King County border will need smoothing. Nevertheless, having successfully hacked through negotiations on the thornier areas on the eastside of King County and in Southwestern Washington, the air of optimism on the commission earlier this week appears to have been well-founded. Expect to see key districts in those areas shift from strongly favoring Democratic candidates to becoming swing districts in which Republicans will have opportunities to win by running strong issue-oriented races.

Did the Democrats blink in Southwestern Washington? Perhaps.

Though the 19th legislative district should still be reliably Democratic for the 2012 election, it will significantly change shape for the first time in almost 30 years, pushing deep into Republican areas in the west portion of Lewis County and forcing Democratic incumbents to rub elbows with new voters who may or may not roll out the welcome wagon.

Resolving differences on the political lines of legislative districts in Western Washington moves the commission one step forward to the main event—redrawing the boundaries for the state’s congressional districts and finding space to squeeze in the new 10th congressional seat.


[photo credit: most uncool]