14 bolder predictions for Maine politics in 2014

Recently, Republican BDN blogger and columnist Matt Gagnon made 14 “bold” predictions for 2014. While some were legitimately bold, such as Democratic state Rep. Brian Bolduc resigning, Republicans taking back the state Senate, and the state unemployment rate falling by another point (thank you Obama!), others were a bit wanting.

Claiming LePage will win the 2nd Congressional District by a “healthy” margin, without defining “healthy,” is called “pundit vaguery” in our business. And saying that U.S. Sen. Angus King “will fail to get any meaningful legislation passed” in a body where Republicans won’t let anything be voted upon is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or calling it “bold” to predict that U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will beat Shenna Bellows by 20-25 points is, shall we say, “less than bold” (She beat Rep. Tom Allen by more than 22 percent, for heaven’s sake!).

However, in order to not simply be judgmental of my fellow pundit (nor outdone, of course), I duly challenge him with 14 predictions of my own. I propose that whoever gets more correct has to do a one-minute online video extolling the virtues of the other’s political party. Phil Harriman and Mike Tipping can be the adjudicatory panel, with Erin Rhoda (our BDN editor) the deciding vote.

Here are my “14 Bolder Predictions for 2014.” 

Bolder Prediction 1: Gov. Paul LePage will become the first governor to not win a second term since John Reed in 1966. See “Bolder Prediction 2” for the reason. 

Bolder Prediction 2: Either Eliot Cutler or Mike Michaud will pull up stakes and endorse the other with two weeks to go, as one or the other sees that they can’t win. (Bolder prediction 2.1: If this doesn’t happen, Matt will be right and LePage will win.) 

Bolder Prediction 3: Kevin Raye will be the next congressman from the 2nd District (Unless, as I pray for every night, Bruce Poliquin wins the primary. In that case, Democrats will hold the seat). 

Bolder Prediction 4: Chellie Pingree will win re-election by a healthy margin (OK, I am allowed one “less-than-bold pundit vaguery” since Gagnon had at least three!).

Bolder Prediction 5: Maine voters will reverse their 2004 position and vote to ban bear trapping, hounding and baiting. 

Bolder Prediction 6, 7, 8 & 9: In the state Senate, Bill Diamond will oust Gary Plummer in Windham and Mike Carpenter will take Roger Sherman’s open seat in Presque Isle. On the flip side, Republicans will flip three Democratic seats (I’m not telling you which ones). However, this will leave Republicans, at a minimum, one short of the majority and Justin Alfond will remain president of the Senate. 

Bolder Prediction 10: Maine Clean Elections will get the signatures needed to put strengthening our public financing system on the ballot in 2015. Maybe this is simply my hope, since it’s the only way to win our democracy back. 

Bolder Prediction 11: Portland voters will reject the sale of Congress Square at referendum.

Bolder Prediction 12: 35,700 Maine people will sign up for health care on the Obamacare exchanges (meeting expectation). Nationally, more than 7 million will sign up (and all this partisan hysteria about the bad website will be laughed at in retrospect).

Bolder prediction 13: Nationally, Republicans will not win the U.S. Senate, and will gain fewer than 10 seats in the U.S. House (OK, this one is not Maine, but is still bold). 

Bolder Prediction 14: Phil Harriman will, at least twice, enter the WCSH studio and say: “I have to go on TV and defend Governor LePage for saying what?!”

OK Matt, you in?

Posted by Ethan Strimling