Posted by: sweeneyblog | September 21, 2011

Republicans Contort Redistricting Map to Boost Fundraising

Redistricting is innately political. When we are redrawing election boundaries, pardon the pun, it comes with the territory. However Doug Ericksen took it to brand new levels recently. Doug Ericksen, who you might remember as the guy who tried to arrest a citizen journalist, or the guy who is planning on dismantling our county unions, came out and said that the plans proposed by the Democrats were illegal. Now he tried to walk that statement back, but basically he said that they broke the law because of the way they were cut. Jared Paben at the Herald did some reporting on this issue here, and here. Luanne Van Werven, chair of the Whatcom Republicans and blogger at “Right on the Left Coast” echoed his thoughts on facebook here. In that post, her main argument is this,

(the Democratic plans will be) making mincemeat of the pre-stated goals of recognizing natural boundaries and communities of common interest.

She says that the Democratic plans are elitist because they divide our rural parts, from our northern county parts, and Bellingham. You can examine a comparison of all four maps in my previous post here, and I would welcome her to comment and expound upon it further. I really have an interest about this, because I feel our rural farmers in east county probably do have more in common politically with the farmers in east Skagit than those citizens in downtown Bellingham.

But Riley, you say, none of this is really about the title of your blog post. Yes yes, loyal reader, I’m getting there.

So there I was, comparing potential redistricting maps, and something caught my eye. Of the four plans, they are pretty consistent at drawing lines that are smooth, or follow natural boundaries. That is except for part of Huff’s (Republican) plan.

Huff's Redistricting Map

Okay, most everything east of I-5 is in the 42nd, except for the County portion of the Lake Whatcom watershed. That makes sense . . . wait a minute! What is with that little finger poking down into the Lake. As my favorite Captain would say, “Magnify”

Huff's Weird Finger

It seems like Huff cut it so that a handful of houses on North Shore Drive would stay in the 42nd, now why would he do that? If you have ever driven down that street, you know why. The houses are huge, expansive affairs, and the neighborhood is one of the wealthiest in Whatcom County (a few blocks in Edgemoor beat it out, but only barely). Also, these wealthy people tend to skew Republican. Naturally, they would be put in the 40th, which is a safe Democratic district according to this map. But Huff goes out of his way to bring those wealthy Republicans into the 42nd.

The reason is fundraising. He wants Vincent Buys, Jason Overstreet, and Doug Ericksen (Press-Hater, Union-Buster) to be able to raise money off these people. The 42nd District is probably going to continue to be competitive, and by insuring that these people are in the 42nd, Huff ensures that their money will continue to be involved in helping the Republican candidates, rather than wasted down in the 40th or sent to the Federal level.

Although, I’m open to alternative theories. Someone speculated that maybe there was someone on that block that was interested in running for the 42nd on the Republican side, anticipating that Doug will become County Executive and there will be a vacancy. Thoughts?



  1. Riley,

    Go to the City of Bellingham website and call up the map of the Silver Beach neighborhood… while the Huff photo you provide is less refined in scale and definition, it looks pretty obvious the line in that area pretty much follows the City of Bellingham’s city limits with the city in one district and the county, at least in that area, in another district.

    As to the comment that high price houses mean Republican supporters, can I suggest you check out the recent vote totals in Edgemoor regarding that theory?


    Jack O. Petree

    • I should have been more clear, it is not that Rich = Republican, it is that these particular rich people skew more Republican.

      This finger still is odd because while the city line is near there, the Republican line excludes everything East of that border. In short, it snatches up a tiny bit of the city and then jumps back to get the rest of the county in the 42nd.

      Check out what we are talking about here:

      • Riley,


        Actually, if your theory were to hold water the line would have headed straight out from the extremity of Bellingham’s limits in order to take in the very high end development immediately adjacent to the city…Big donation potential there…

        At any rate, the main conspiracy theory had to do with the location of the line which seems to be based on the city limits… much beyond that is pretty much down the rabbit hole stuff.



  2. […] about a month ago. I wrote about it here, and then about some of the sneaky redrawing of the lines here.  Now, after some tough negotiating, they have weaned it down to just two legislative maps to […]

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