Every year, in my column immediately following Christmas, I have made a habit of making bold predictions for the forthcoming year.
Some predictions are bolder than others, of course. A few are just for laughs, a few are sarcastic, but I always try to make them fun.
Last year, I made thirteen predictions, and I’m happy to report that I got nearly every one of them right.
I said that Governor LePage would issue a record number of vetoes, and he did. I said Senate President Justin Alfond, not Speaker Mark Eves, would be the chief antagonist to the governor, and he was. I said despite the public fighting, the Legislature and the governor would together craft some important compromises, and they did.
I said that former Governor Baldacci wasn’t serious about running for his old job, and that Angus King would talk a lot on television, but wouldn’t accomplish any real legislation.
Not bad, as prognostication goes. Perhaps this year I should step out on the limb a bit further. And so I shall.
Bold prediction 1: Mike Michaud is going to disappoint a lot of hopeful Democrats by only capturing 30-35% of the vote. His current poll numbers will represent the high water mark of his candidacy.
Bold prediction 2: Eliot Cutler will be close enough to LePage and Michaud to be convinced that he has a realistic path to victory right up until the end of the election. He will believe his late surge in 2010 will be repeated. It will not.
Bold prediction 3: Erick Bennett, the announced primary opponent to Senator Susan Collins, will not make the ballot. (Okay, this one isn’t so bold)
Bold prediction 4: Senator Angus King will once again talk a lot on television, but will fail to get any meaningful legislation passed. He’ll blame it on gridlock and partisanship, but it will really be his own irrelevance.
Bold prediction 5: Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci will continue to flirt with the idea of running for his brother’s old seat in Congress, but won’t. The nomination will go to Emily Cain by default in a lopsided primary.
Bold prediction 6: The Legislature will get nothing of substance done, as the Democrats use 2014 as a soapbox to campaign against the governor and his party, and the Republicans make the case for why the Democrats have failed (again) in governance. All good, common-sense bills will thus be killed.
Bold prediction 7: More damaging things will come out about Representative Brian Bolduc, and he will be forced to resign his seat in the Legislature.
Bold prediction 8: Former Mayor of Bangor, Cary Weston, will beat Geoff Gratwick for a seat in the state Senate, and in so doing will exact some revenge for what the Democrats did to Nichi Farnham in 2012.
Bold prediction 9: The Republican Party will retake the Maine Senate, but will fall short in the House.
Bold prediction 10: Shenna Bellows will lose to Senator Collins by 20 to 25 points. She will never poll closer than 15.
Bold prediction 11: The state’s unemployment rate will fall by another point, making the argument for Governor LePage’s re-election stronger than it already is.
Bold prediction 12: Dislodged Bangor City Councilor Charlie Longo will find something, anything to run for. He will record more strange YouTube videos of himself. He will lose.
Bold prediction 13: Paul LePage will beat Mike Michaud in the 2nd district by a fairly healthy margin, which for Michaud will be a little like a presidential candidate losing his home state.
Bold prediction 14: Despite winning re-election in Maine by 16 points in 2012, President Obama’s increasing unpopularity, the albatross created by the failures of healthcare reform, and the general failure of Washington Democrats will figure in prominently to the political environment in Maine. It will impact the gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races, and will be a wind at the back of the Republicans in their quest to retake the state house and senate.
I hope that you have had a chance to dig yourself out of the ice and snow, and that you have power right now.
I also hope you had as joyous and wonderful a holiday season as I did. Wishing you all the best of the new year.