Polarization in Washington (state)

Earlier this month, the state Senate voted against confirming Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, effectively firing her from a job she held since 2012.

Shortly after, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, had this to say: “I had always believed our politics here in Washington could be somewhat different from the politics we see in Congress, and I have to tell you, that is no longer the case.”

In Washington state, accusing politicians of D.C.-like partisanship and gridlock is not uncommon. But it turns out, it’s also fairly accurate.

While speaking at a Foley Institute Forum in Olympia on Friday, Boris Shor, a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown, said Washington state is one of the most polarized states in the country and has been for some time.

For a long time, Shor said, Washington was the third-most polarized state, behind California and Colorado. It’s only recently become the fifth, thanks to Texas and Arizona.

Washington state, Shor said, “is in the top tier of the most polarized in the country.”

Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, who is in the majority in the Senate, spoke at the forum.

Rivers said she does her best to cultivate relationships across the aisle.

“I know majorities never last and I know at some point I’ll be in the minority again,” Rivers said.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

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