13 bold predictions for 2013

Last December, I took a look at what was then the future and made a series of predictions about the next 12 months. I have to say I didn’t do half bad.

Things I got right: President Barack Obama defeating Mitt Romney in Maine, same-sex marriage passing, the world not imploding once it did, Gov. Paul LePage having a better 2012 than 2011, the Republicans losing the House and my propensity for irritating people.

That last one shouldn’t count, though, as it is a mortal lock every year.

Things I got wrong: The margin of Obama’s victory, the Republicans keeping control of the Senate, and Kevin Raye giving Mike Michaud a “knock-down, drag out brawl” for the second district congressional seat.

Hey, I can’t get them all right.

Mixed: I said the Legislature would tackle some big things. They certainly did, but the legislative agenda was not as ambitious as 2011.

This year, I’d like to try my hand at the future’s market in Maine again. And so I present 13 bold predictions for 2013.

Bold prediction 1: The new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate will act aggressively to try to roll back much of what the Republicans accomplished in the last two years.

Bold prediction 2: Senate President Justin Alfond will be the lead antagonist (by a long shot), rather than Speaker Mark Eves. He will become a galvanizing boogeyman for Republicans.

Bold prediction 3: LePage will issue a record number of vetoes. I’m not sure what the previous record was, but I think the governor will run out of ink in his pen a number of times.

Bold prediction 4: The conflict between the governor and the Legislature will be ugly, acrimonious at times, and it will frustrate many Maine voters. But at the end of the year, some important compromises will have indeed been crafted.

Bold prediction 5: The new opposition will make LePage a better governor. The interesting mix of strong, principled stands on issues and compromise with Democrats will lead to better approval ratings.

Bold prediction 6: The 2014 campaign for governor will begin a lot earlier than anyone wants. The conflict between LePage and the Democratic tracker will be just the beginning.

Bold prediction 7: Former Gov. John Baldacci will endlessly flirt with the idea of running for his former job in 2014 but by December will declare that he is not running.

Bold prediction 8: Eliot Cutler, on the other hand, will announce he is running by the end of the year. That announcement will be the least surprising thing in recent memory, as Cutler takes most of the year to prepare himself for a second run at the Blaine House.

Bold prediction 9: No credible Republican challengers will emerge to face off with either U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree or Mike Michaud by the end of the year, setting up only token opposition.

Bold prediction 10: Independent Sen. Angus King will talk a lot about bipartisanship but will not accomplish any major legislation. His first year will be marked mostly by the closeness with which he works with the Democratic majority in Washington.

Bold prediction 11: With the absence of Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, Sen. Susan Collins will become even more influential than she was before, both nationally and in Maine.

Bold prediction 12: She will have no (credible) announced opponent for her 2014 campaign by the end of the year. No Democrat in their right mind will have any interest in challenging her.

Bold prediction 13: This will be among the most interesting years to follow Maine politics in recent memory.

I hope you all had a relaxing and refreshing Christmas. Enjoy the upcoming New Year — because we are in for some fireworks during the next 12 months.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.