Asotin County, Washington

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Asotin County, Washington

Asotin County is a county in the state of Washington.

Asotin County is the southeasternmost county in Washington state, located along the Snake River. Its largest city is Clarkston, and the vast majority of its population live in Clarkston and its immediate suburbs. The county is none somewhat for its ocassionally erratic election results relative to the rest of eastern Washington. Some of this can be owed to its close connection with neighboring Nez Perce County, Idaho.


Political Demographics

The vast majority of residents in Asotin County live in the Clarkston area. As of 2000, 36% of residents lived in incorporated Clarkston, 53% lived in one of the unincorporated suburban CDPs of Clarkston, 5% lived in the city of Asotin, and 6% lived in another area. Rural portions of Asotin (some of which are electorally included as part of the Clarkston Heights area) are very sparsely-populated.

Federally, Asotin County leans strongly toward the Republican Party, although oftentimes follows the politic of the Idaho panhandle. Bill Clinton received victories in 1992 and 1996 after Michael Dukakis solidly won in 1988. However, by 2000, George W. Bush carried the county with over 60 percent, and then won a still over-60%, but reduced, victory in 2004.

Demographically, Asotin County is uniformally white (minorities make up only about 1-in-20 persons) and mostly lower middle-class. Poverty rates here are moderate. Local hospitals are major employers. Many blue-collar workers live here and commute to Lewiston, Idaho.

Voting Patterns

Asotin County is somewhat unpredictable. After swinging strongly toward the Republican Party in 2000, it retreated somewhat in 2004, mirroring similar trends in northern Idaho. In 2000, while George W. Bush was achieving a solid victory in Asotin County, Democratic Governor Gary Locke flirted with 60 percent.

In 2004, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry in 24 of 26 Asotin County precincts. Kerry's lone victories came in an "urban" portion of Clarkston, and a solidly working-class area of West Clarkston. Overall, Bush received 54 percent of the vote in West Clarkston, 55 in Clarkston, and 57 percent in South Clarkston. However, he received larger victories of 64 percent in Clarkston Heights and 67 percent in Swallows Nest. Areas around both Asotin and Anatone delivered 2-to-1 victories, with the lone exception of one of the two incorporated Asotin precincts.

In her larger 2006 victory, Democrat Maria Cantwell carried Asotin County with a narrow majority, her best showing of any county in eastern Washington. She carried Clarkston, South Clarkston and West Clarkston solidly, while narrowly losing the area including Clarkston Heights and northwestern Asotin County. Cantwell also, surprisingly, carried the city of Asotin and performed much more strongly in outlaying Asotin areas and around Anatone.

Despite Asotin County's Republican-leaning nature, it oftentimes votes moderately to liberally on a range of ballot initiatives. It voted strongly against the 2006 estate tax appeal[1], and also voted against a partial-birth abortion ban[2]. It does, however, tend to vote for most tax repeals, reflecting the working-class nature of the area.

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See also

Flag of Washington State of Washington
Executive Governor | Lt. Governor | Secretary of State | State Treasurer | State Auditor | Attorney General | Commissioner of Public Lands | Superintendent of Public Instruction | Insurance Commissioner
Legislature State Senate | State House of Representatives
Counties Adams | Asotin | Lincoln
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