Ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year again. Yes, the time of year you all look forward to with ever-growing excitement.
I’m speaking, of course, of my annual bold predictions, where I give you, dear reader, a foretelling of the coming year.
Last year, I correctly told you that the Legislature would eliminate the 3 percent surtax while increasing funding to education, that the tip credit would be restored, and that Susan Collins would not run for governor.
I also got a couple wrong, but maybe this year I can be a little better, so here are my 18 bold predictions for 2018.
Bold prediction 1: Either Mary Mayhew or Shawn Moody will win the Republican nomination for governor.
Republicans are blessed with five great candidates, any one of which would be great general election candidates, but as time goes by the primary will become “the Shawn and Mary show” and one of the two will (likely) be your nominee.
Bold prediction 2: Mark Eves will win the Democratic nomination for governor.
The Democratic base wants a liberal. Yes, Janet Mills has a big lead today, but it won’t last. Eves will swoop in and steal the nomination from her.
Bold prediction 3: Ranked-choice voting advocates will get enough signatures to put a people’s veto on the ballot.
And in doing so they will throw the entire system into utter chaos.
Bold prediction 4: Several major pieces of legislation will be passed in Gov. Paul LePage’s last year in office.
Education, health care, taxes and energy. We will see real movement as LePage tries to secure his legacy and legislators look to get re-elected.
Bold prediction 5: One of those will be a compromise on Medicaid expansion that makes no one happy.
It might – might – get partially funded, but it will make Democrats gnash their teeth to get there.
Bold prediction 6: The Republicans will retain the Maine Senate.
This will be hard, given how many people they are losing and the environment they’re running in, but excellent recruiting will pay dividends.
Bold prediction 7: The Democrats will retain the Maine House.
It will remain close, but the Democrats will likely keep the power in the House.
Bold prediction 8: The Republican candidate for governor will win in November, whoever they are.
Too many left-of-center candidates – including two leftist “independents” – will cripple the Democratic candidate, leaving the Republican to win, perhaps even comfortably.
Bold prediction 9: Nationally, however, 2018 will be bad for Republicans.
Midterms are always bad for the party in power in Washington, and as a result the GOP will lose significant seats – but not control – in the House, and several state governorships.
Bold prediction 10: Despite losses in the House and in state governorships, Republicans will pick up seats in the U.S. Senate.
There are just too many Democratic seats up for election in too many red states. The GOP will survive in the Senate.
Bold prediction 11: Paul Ryan will push for entitlement reform, the effort will fail, and he will announce his resignation.
Like the Obamacare repeal, it will prove unfeasible to make sweeping change, and tiring of chasing his white whale, Ryan will announce his retirement.
Bold prediction 12: Bruce Poliquin will win re-election, but it will be closer than most people think.
Lucas St. Clair is a dangerous candidate, but Poliquin has done the work and is too well liked to lose.
Bold prediction 13: The tax cut bill that just passed will grow more popular.
This is a no brainer, even if you hate the bill. Once people see their paychecks get fatter, they will like the bill better.
Bold prediction 14: Angus King will continue to be completely irrelevant in Washington.
The prediction most likely to come true each year will remain true again.
Bold prediction 15: Susan Collins will continue to be the single most important person in Congress.
With the Senate divided 51-49 following the Alabama special election, she will only grow more influential, not less.
Bold prediction 16: Paul LePage will leave office with an approval rating over 50 percent.
I think he’s already there, truthfully, but he seems to finally be comfortable in the position and will leave quite a legacy.
Bold prediction 17: The economy will grow by 3 percent or more for the first time in a decade.
This hasn’t happened in a long time, and it already looks likely. The initial impact of the tax bill will only make it more likely.
Bold prediction 18: My predictions for this year will be more accurate than those of last year.
As always, though it is hard to improve on perfect.