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Trail Mix - 07.12.12 

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Are You Ready for Some Hot Air?

With all that billionaire money to burn, the Super PACs will be looking anywhere they can to find eyeballs this fall, and ESPN is angling to cash in like the major networks. The Wall Street Journal reports that the all-sports channel will carve out a significant chunk of its ad time for political ads this fall. Yes, college and pro football broadcasts just got more likely to be DVR-ed.

Now It’s Like a Big Wave

The 6th Legislative District of Washington has been an electoral hot spot for years now. The Dems view it as ripe for the picking, while Republicans feel it’s a must-defend piece of real estate. It’s one of those classic swing districts that are so hard to find in these days of “safe” districting.

It wasn’t always competitive, however. For years it was reliably Republican, with Sen. Jim West ensconced there. Democrat Chris Marr won the seat in 2006, but the GOP and Michael Baumgartner took it back four year later.

Now things are going to get trickier, as its boundaries are way different. It won’t matter for two races this season, as Baumgartner is not up for re-election for two more years, and Rep. Kevin Parker is running unopposed for the GOP. The other representative race in the 6th, however, is crowded, with three Republicans — Larry Keller, Jeff Holy and Ben Oakley — working to take on Democrat Dennis Dellwo, who previously served from 1983-96 in Olympia representing the 3rd District.

The old 6th used to wrap around Spokane like a big “C” — from the South Hill out west to the airport, up north past Riverside State Park and the back east again to Five Mile and Mead. It was pretty suburban.

The new 6th is more like a wave, with a tip up north, then wrapping back around the city with a much bigger ocean of land to the south. The new 6th encompasses the cities of Cheney, Medical Lake and Airway Heights. The 6th also lost most of Mead, including Whitworth University; those neighborhoods will be kind of orphaned into the new, mostly rural 7th District. The 6th also loses a bit of the South Hill, which goes to the 3rd.

The 6th remains a swing district, but it’s not so suburban anymore. Elected officials and candidates will have to brush up on an entirely new set of issues that the urban parts of the district face.

Next week, Trail Mix will look at changes to the 5th Congressional District. To check out the new maps for yourself, go to redistricting.wa.gov

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