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"Weird" Politics in 1st District Makes The New York Times

Due to redistricting, the local race between Republican John Koster and Democrat Suzan DelBene is one of the most unusual in the nation, the New York Times is reporting.

"The big news is what did not happen here," begins a Sunday New York Times story on the anything-but-boring politics in the newly drawn boundaries of the First Congressional District.

The district now stretches from Redmond, Woodinville, Kirkland and Medina to the Canadian border, making for more of a mix of Democrats and Republicans than ever before.

The Times story says with the redistricting:

Boring and predictable lost the battle and fled the field. The result, politicians and academics say, is one of the most unusual corners in the nation heading toward Election Day.

The 6,600-square-mile district ... includes Microsoft code-heads and vineyard owners to the south, Boeing workers and raspberry farmers up north. What might have become just another gerrymandered fief was instead born competitive.

And weird.

The weirdness they say is due to some district voters getting two chances to vote. Every voter in the newly-drawn district can vote for the two-year term Congressional district starting in January. The other election (only for those living in the district before new boundaries were drawn) is to fill a one-month vacancy in the seat before the next Congress starts. 

The race is a tight one between Republican John Koster, and Democrat Suzan DelBene of Medina. If the same candidate wins both contests, he or she would take office with a slight edge in seniority over other incoming freshmen that could make a difference in committee assignments.

About 48 percent of the people in the newly drawn First District were in the old one, according to the story.

Woodinville residents Steven Franz and Rick Chatterton are mentioned in the story as being supportive of Referendum 74, a ballot proposal that would confirm same-sex marriage rights in Washington. But, their votes on politicians look to be a mixed bag—which is indicative overall of how tight analysts predict the races to be.

Do you think the newly-redrawn First District boundaries will tip the congressional race one way or the other? Who has your vote? Tell us in comments.

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