Writings and observations

WA: That urban-rural thing again

Not to keep beating this thing into the ground, but a story out of Yakima (at the Herald Republic) brings home again how Democrats do better in urban areas and Republicans in rural.

The context is that we’re talking about the Yakima area, which in living memory, more or less, has been a solidly Republican place. Yakima County has been for some time the largest county in Washington (about 220,000 people) that’s been reliably Republican.

For 2008, it still was. But is it being chipped away? While Republicans won Yakima across the board, the margins were a little closer. And then there’s House 14A.

Of the three legislative seats in Yakima-centered 14, the Senate seat went unopposed and House B was a runaway. But House A, pitting Republican Norm Johnson against Democrat Vickie Ybarra, Johnson winning just 53.3%-46.7%. Part of the reason was money: Ybarra collected and spent about twice as much of it as Johnson. More interesting was the way the votes broke down geographically: Ybarra swept the precincts inside the cities of Yakima, Union Gap and Selah (and even little Tieton), while Johnson, by larger margins, took everything outside those cities – which turned out to be just enough to win.

This turns out not to be unexpected. Johnson was quoted as saying, “I would have been a fool to think I could have carried everything in Yakima.”

It’s those urban dynamics. Yakima, meet Seattle. And Portland, Boise, Spokane . . .

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One Comment

  1. TMW said:

    It’s also because it’s an open seat and Ybarra is a more credible candidate than Democrats can usually hope for in Yakima. Next cycle it will revert to safe Republican now that Johnson will be the incumbent.

    November 18, 2008

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