Red Enumclaw swallowed by blue 5th Legislative District

The Supreme Court may take up an appeal, but for now, Enumclaw looks to be sharing representation with the far more liberal Issaquah.

Enumclaw may no longer be represented by Republicans in the state legislature.

On March 15, federal Judge Robert Lasnik of the Western District of Washington ruled that a new legislative map that mostly affected the state’s 14th and 15th legislative districts — but also affected the 5th and 31st, as well as others.

The redistricting came after Lasnik ruled months ago that the voting power of the Latino communities in the 14th and 15th were diluted, as they were split in half by the dividing line.

The Ninth Court of Appeals denied a stay on the redistricting changes on March 22, but a member of the Washington legislative staff with knowledge of the matter, speaking on background to discuss the fast-paced issue, said the case will most likely be brought to the U.S. Supreme Court.

With the stay denied, it seems that the new redistrict maps will take effect after the coming April special election, in time for the 2024 general election, unless the Supreme Court intervenes.

According to, the city of Enumclaw and some of the surrounding unincorporated area would vote as a part of the 5th district as it expanded east and south, while the 31st was flattened and pushed more into the east.

Black Diamond and some parts of rural Enumclaw were already in the 5th, and have been since at least 2012.

The city of Buckley remains in the 31st.

According to the Cascadia Advocate, a publication of the Northwest Progressive Institute, the Democratic average in the 5th will likely shrink from 57% to 55% with these changes, meaning it’s unlikely Enumclaw and the surrounding area will do much to turn the district a shade of purple.

Black Diamond Councilmember Kristiana de Leon, who is running for a Legislative District 5 seat, appeared ecstatic about some of the changes to who she would get to represent.

“I’m sad to lose my 5th LD friends in Snoqualmie, but I am fired up as hell to fight for the Enumclaw area,” de Leon wrote in a Facebook comment.

Less thrilled was Sen. Phil Fortunato.

“This is totally bogus,” he said in a recent phone interview. “[The Democrat’s] goal is to have a makeup of legislative districts that allows them to get a two-thirds majority in both houses so they can do constitutional amendments. That’s what this is all about.”

Simone Leeper from the Center Legal Center which represented the plaintiffs for this case was not able to be reached before print deadline about why the 31st and 5th were affected.

However, Judge Lasnik’s order says this redistricting’s “ripple” affecting other districts “appears to be a normal redistricting occurrence, especially common when one centrally-located district must be redrawn.”

Though the order did not specify the changes in thes 5th and 31st, “the Court finds that the adopted map does not meaningfully shift the partisan balance of the State and that it was not drawn (or adoped) purposely to favor one party over the other,” Laskin continued.

Rep. Bill Ramos, who currently represents the 5th until the coming 2024 election, said that redistricting is “a very difficult thing to do overall,” in part because the state attempts to keep the population levels of all the districts the same by taking Washington’s population, dividing it by 49 (the number of districts in the state), and, depending on which areas are growing or shrinking, change district lines every 10 years to meet that population goal.

This means as one district changes its boundaries, others have to do the same.