Court-ordered boundary changes stir election dynamics

Mar 28, 2024
Written by WR Communications

In 1983, Washington voters amended the state constitution, establishing a five-member bipartisan Redistricting Commission. Tasked with redrawing Congressional and Legislative District boundaries every ten years based on census data, this commission comprises two members appointed by both Republicans and Democrats. The fifth member, a non-partisan Chair, is selected by commission members. Before this constitutional amendment, the Legislature handled the redistricting every decade.

However, the Commission’s work in 2022 faced challenges. The boundaries of the 15th Legislative District in the Yakima area were contested for violating federal law by hindering Latino voters’ equal participation. In response, the majority party declined to reconvene the Redistricting Commission, leaving the final decision to U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik.

Last week, Judge Lasnik unveiled new district maps, altering 13 legislative districts and significantly impacting veteran members of the Legislature. Three Republican Senators and two House Representatives will be affected:

  • Members of the current 14th District delegation will need to run in different districts. Senator Curtis King and Rep. Chris Corry will shift to the new 15th District, while Rep. Gina Mosbrucker will have to run in the 17th Legislative District.
  • Senator Nikki Torres from the current 15th District can serve out her remaining two-year term but must either move into the new 15th district or challenge incumbent Senator Perry Dozier from the 16th District.
  • Senator Brad Hawkins of the 12th District will have to move from E. Wenatchee to Wenatchee across the Columbia River to run for his seat in the 12th Legislative District.

These new boundaries will take effect in the upcoming election cycle. Multiple parties are appealing Judge Lasnik’s decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.


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