Republican Ralph Munro served as Secretary of State of Washington State for five terms beginning in 1980. He has a theory that the state is made up of two diverse sections, the Space Needle State (Seattle) and the Goat Rock State (the rest of Washington state) which reflect our partisan values.
Seattle ranked as the 16th most liberal city in America according to the Bay Area Center for Voting Research in Berkley,CA . American cities that contained high African American populations concentrated in the Northeast, Midwest and California were the most liberal.
During the 2004 national presidential election, 52.8% of Washingtonians voted for the democrats. 45.6 % voted for Republican President Bush.
Ralph Munro, 62
We used to talk about the Cascade Curtain and it was eastern Washington versus western Washington. That’s pretty much all disappeared. What I call these two states (today) are one: the Space Needle State, and that’s basically, standing on top of the Space Needle, everything you can see from there. That state tends to be social issues, votes on the democratic side of the aisle, and elects people like Patty Murray. The other state I call the Goat Rock State because there is a place south of Mt. Rainier called the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area. There’s these tall pinnacles there and from the top of these pinnacles you can see everywhere in the state of Washington except Seattle because Seattle’s behind Mt. Rainier. So that’s kind of like a big donut around the Space Needle State…. And that’s a state that goes very much Republican, is much more conservative as opposed to liberal and is much more interested in property related issues.
I think this has really evolved as the Puget Sound basin just exploded with growth. King County now has a third of the state’s voters…
If you look in the legislative records, the first legislative sessions especially, the territorial days, 1850’s through 1889, you’ll see that the powerhouses were over in the wheat country. That was big time power.
There’s certainly been a time where it was much more conservative then it is today. In the 1960’s Seattle was a fairly conservative place.
I think what we have to do is figure out ways to bridge the gap. You know, I would love to see the mayor of Seattle make appearances in Eastern Washington. And same with the Mayor of Tacoma. And spend some time, because much of the economy of Seattle revolves around how well we do in wheat, how well we do in cherries, how well we do in soft fruits, you know, all that kind of stuff. And I would love to see the rural leaders spend more time in the city because they really have to rely on each other.
There’s one thing I worry about politically and that is the fact that there are virtually no Republicans left in the city, as far as elected officials. That’s a real problem because that could work both ways.
There’s no question in my mind that the center of world commerce is moving west…. China, Japan, Indonesia so forth is going to play a major role in that. If you look what flows through these cities and the commerce that’s taking place there’s no question in my mind that Vancouver, Seattle, and Los Angeles / Long Beach are going to play a very pivotal role for America’s trade future. Very much so.”