Mike: Well, Cynthia, we have 11 days until the election. Time to make some predictions! Care to add a wager as well?
Cynthia: I’m game! Twenty bucks says national Republican hysteria about ebola will shine a light on how utterly unprepared and ill-equipped the Maine CDC is to handle any crisis, let alone an epidemic. Fear of four more years of a LePage administration will be highly infectious. Panicked voters will run to the polls and vote for Mike Michaud, who will win with more than 50 percent of the vote.
Liberals call this “karma.”
As for Maine’s U.S. Senate race, I exercise a peremptory challenge, except to predict a long and happy life for both candidates.
Mike: Cynthia, no bet — I don’t want to take your money when you aren’t feeling well, since your mind is playing tricks on you! It could be a fever, only more cowbell won’t cure it. Instead, Gov. LePage’s re-election will help you — and Maine — recover. He may be the medicinal cough syrup to Mike’s sickly sweet tonic, but Maine voters will send him back with 43 percent of the vote. Eliot will tell you that his health regimen mitigates the need for cough syrup or tonic, yet only 22 percent of Mainers will agree.
On the Senate race, I’ll call your preemption and raise you a prop bet: I say Susan Collins wins with a higher percentage than Chellie Pingree.
Cynthia: Sen. Collins is very popular, so you may be right about her margins, but I predict the U.S. Senate as a whole will be evenly split, bringing Vice President Biden full circle. He will be, at last, Washington’s “big F’ing deal.”
The prognosis for the U.S. House is not good for Democrats, but one bright spot will be in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Emily Cain will squeak out a victory. My crystal ball says Bruce Poliquin will demand a recount and file a lawsuit against Cain and independent Blaine Richardson, alleging a vast forthright-wing conspiracy.
Mike: Like the “Cutler-LePage” conspiracy some Democrats think live under their bed? Anyway, I foresee 51 Republicans in the U.S. Senate, with Angus King and Greg Orman casting “me too” votes to bring the caucus to 53. That makes Susan the indispensable senator and gives Maine — under the second LePage administration — significant clout.
For the 2nd District, none of the candidates fits the mold perfectly. Emily is “from away,” one of the more partisan state senators — in voting, not temperament — and reportedly hasn’t had a full-time job in 10 years. Bruce is the local boy who went off to prep school and Harvard, only to find a career — and success — on Wall Street, thereafter coming home. With those options, I’m taking the “local boy makes good” story.
On the referendums, all bonds will pass despite Al Diamon’s best efforts. Bears will still be able to be baited, with 55 percent of Maine voters agreeing with the BDN, Press Herald, and IF&W. The “no” tally will flirt with 60 percent in the 2nd District but still top 50 percent in the 1st.
Cynthia: I personally support the investments contained in the bond questions but predict most people will have a hard time voting for all of them. I say Mainers will go for questions 4 or 5, but not both, and reject question 7 simply because it’s last. Cautious people won’t buy two things that look the same, or too much.
I agree with you that Maine bears will lose Question 1. I’m surprised the Yes on One campaign has not put more emphasis on the fact that the proposed ban on baiting, trapping and hounding makes a specific exception for when those practices are needed to protect the “public safety.” Isn’t this what the Maine IFW biologists have been making such a big stink about?
Here’s another prediction: Most voters will have absolutely no idea what number their Maine House and Senate districts are this year. Redistricting may be required by the constitution every so often, but is a complete renumbering really necessary?
Mike: I agree that the renumbering is not necessary, but my guess is the vast majority of Mainers couldn’t tell you their House or Senate district numbers anyway. All they care about is who are the people on the ballot. That is one of the great things about our state; people can generally know their local legislators from engaging in schools, civic organizations, or businesses.
But you touch on the most important point: whoever is elected governor is going to be reliant on the makeup of the Legislature. Whether they are selling “working together,” “fresh ideas,” or “actions louder than words,” the road for the Blaine House to drive big policy goes through the Third Floor, as the legislative chambers are known in Augusta.
I’m guessing Senate President Mike Thibodeau has a caucus of 20 thanks to some phenomenal Republican women running for State Senate, while Speaker Mark Eves holds 78 once you pile on all the “independents” who are really Democrats. The crazy part? If I’m right, that means the attorney general, state treasurer, and secretary of state ballots are evenly split between the sides. Talk about legalizing fireworks!
Cynthia: Republicans could sure use at least one or two women in the state Senate. And If you’re right, Mike, about the votes for AG, treasurer and secretary of state being evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, 50 bucks and good karma say Eliot Cutler will make an excellent constitutional officer.
Mike: The best part? Even if we’re wrong on all of these predictions, we still win since Nov. 5 will bring an end to all the political ads! At least, until next election.