It’s prediction time.
While the Supreme Court invalidated federal laws preventing gambling on sports a few weeks back, placing a wager on elections remains illegal in most American jurisdictions. So there is no money on the line as I try to predict the outcomes of next week’s election, just bragging rights (or a lack thereof).
Start with the big show: the race for governor. Since I am a right-leaning columnist for the Bangor Daily News, I’ll save the GOP race for the end. So I’ll start with the Democrats.
But first, a prop bet. I’ll set the line for recounts in the Democratic gubernatorial primary at 1. Are you taking over or under?
It is a strange concept, but there is a possibility for multiple recounts under ranked-choice voting. Obviously the final count, if close, could lead a candidate to request a recount. That is no different than our traditional voting system. But if the field gets narrowed and a candidate is eliminated in a “runoff” round by a small margin, that round may require its own recount. Which may or may not change the ultimate outcome.
I teased it last week, but I do believe the Democratic primary will result in at least one recount. Cross your fingers for the staff of the Secretary of State’s Office; they may be in for a doozy.
All that said, I’m going out on a limb and predicting Mark Eves will eek out the Democratic nomination. While the money smarter than me seems to be on Janet Mills or Adam Cote, I think the dynamics at play geographically and ideologically will let Eves climb from behind.
Mills and Cote will take a lead in the first round, while Diane Russell, Mark Dion, and Donna Dion will be the first three candidates bumped off. Betsy Sweet and Eves have announced a “progressive pact” (along with Russell), asking their voters to place the other in the second spot. Eves will probably stay a few steps ahead of Sweet due to his legislative service, but will then capture a large chunk of her votes.
That leaves him up against Cote and Mills. The real question will be whether he can jump ahead of Cote by consolidating the self-described “progressive” wing. Mills is either heralded or derided as the “experienced” pick, while Cote is attacked for having been — of all awful things! — a Republican.
If Eves can jump ahead of Cote, he will likely capture a large number of York County votes. And those may be just enough to knock off one of the longtime leaders of Maine Democrats, Mills.
Moving to the Second Congressional District, Lucas St. Clair will be the Democrat to face off against Rep. Bruce Poliquin, playing the role of Emily Cain circa 2014. Jared Golden is the Troy Jackson of this year’s race, a Democrat who might fit the overall district better in a general election, but cannot fight his way out of a primary. I don’t have a good analogy for where Craig Olson fits in, but predict he will run a distant third.
Question 1 is hard to predict. While ranked-choice supporters have flown over $1 million out-of-state dollars into Maine to win the campaign, including a cameo from Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence, the opposition — led by local elected officials — has raised exactly zero dollars.
Yet, money-games aside, the wording of the question is gobbledygook. Voters have already spoken to the media to express confusion with the wording. It may be just confusing enough to swing the outcome one way or the other. So, like a craps table, I’m calling “no bet.” Although if you agree with me and the BDN editorial board, “no” remains the correct bet.
That brings us to the big tamale. The GOP primary. Here’s an unexciting prediction: it will come down to Mary Mayhew and Shawn Moody. Here’s another boring prediction: Ken Fredette will be the first one out. Those Newport votes will probably go to the Pittsfield girl.
The next steps aren’t perfect. Garrett Mason likely falls short in the second round. So, while Moody has led in the only public poll, Mayhew won the GOP convention straw poll running away, has a laundry list of legislative endorsements with men and women volunteering throughout the state on her behalf, and a fair share of Gov. Paul LePage’s administration backing her. It is formidable.
Moody, meanwhile, should not be underestimated. He has a base of support in the southern parts of Maine, a well-funded and professional team (including many LePage alumni), and “outsider” creds. But my guess is Mayhew gets through, to take on Eves and several independents in the fall.
Anyone wanna bet?