Ethan: We are about to enter one mama of a political year. Legislative battles for control of the State House. Two doozy primaries for Maine’s congressional seat. And a trifecta of legit candidates for governor!
Phil: “One mama?” “Two doozies?” “A trifecta?” Are you back in NYC for the holidays? Let me help you express yourself the Yarmouth way: Does life get any better for a couple of political junkies like us?
Ethan: Hallelujah and pass the potatoes!
Phil: Care to make any predictions?
Ethan: Dems win everything!
Phil: Boy, that was deep and so out of left field (pun intended). That’s why you get paid the big bucks, huh?
Ethan: Just a hardworking guy trying to make a name for himself while barely eking out a living.
Phil: Speaking of big bucks, my prediction is that Eliot Cutler will rake in the most out-of-state cash (plus his own) and Mike Michaud will rake in the most from unions and PACs. Meanwhile, Paul LePage will come in third in the money race.
Ethan: He may come in third in the money race, but he will come in first for donations from corporations. Indeed, as of the first reporting period, LePage took a 5-to-1 advantage in corporate money.
Phil: You mean from job creators like Bath Iron Works and National Semiconductor who were induced to invest in Maine by actions of the Legislature?
Ethan: I mean the corporate welfare crowd that spent $2.3 million on campaigns over the past decade and got more than $300,000,000 of our taxes in return. You got a prediction on who will win next November?
Phil: LePage’s policies are beginning to work. Voters will give him the edge come Election Day.
Ethan: With the three-way situation we have, I agree with you that this is LePage’s race to lose. That said, I wouldn’t put more than a dollar on his winning re-election.
Phil: What’s your prediction on the congressional race?
Ethan: Very tough call on the Democratic side. Both Emily Cain and Troy Jackson bring great strengths and I am glad we have two true blue Democrats fighting for the soul of the party. At this point, I can’t make a prediction.
Phil: Wimp. Far be it for me to know how Democrats think (do they?), but my sense is Emily’s concentration of support in Bangor and her University of Maine System insider status will enable her to win the primary.
Ethan: On the Republican side, I expect that Kevin Raye will win handily, although I am praying for Bruce Poliquin to pull it out! He’s our best hope for keeping the seat in Democratic hands next fall.
Phil: In legislative parlance, “I concur.” Raye should win, but once the primary is over, he’ll need a wave of financial and logistical support because the Democratic Party will descend upon the 2nd Congressional District to keep this seat.
Ethan: Oh yes, we will! We have kept that seat in the hands of the people for 20 years. We won’t give it back to the forces of darkness without a fight.
Phil: Since you are an expert on these matters, what are the chances that Chellie Pingree will have to break a sweat to keep the 1st Congressional District seat?
Ethan: Break a sweat? Chellie is spot on for the 1st District. Her values will carry her to a double-digit win.
Phil: Not to mention, her husband owns the most circulated newspaper in southern Maine. But that attitude is how upsets happen. The combination of blindly defending Obamacare and her penchant for more tax revenue for the government opens her up to a legitimate challenge from a moderate small-business woman like Meredith Burgess, a former legislator.
Ethan: Are you leaking some breaking news about a possible challenger?
Phil: Let’s just say I’m hearing things.
Ethan: Speaking of taking things for granted, any nervousness on your side that Susan Collins will wake up in November without a job?
Phil: Sen. Collins always runs like she is in a close race and because of her discipline she will be re-elected.
Ethan: Yeah, I love Shenna Bellows and her “Democrat. Libertarian. Progressive.” slogan. But her battle will be hard. The best advice I can give is stay focused on your message, remain true to your North Star, and try to be creative. David beat Goliath by bucking convention and doing it his way.
Phil: How about the Legislature? “President Roger Katz” and “Speaker Ken Fredette” have nice rings to them, don’t you think?
Ethan: I think I just had a nightmare! Is that your prediction?
Phil:Way too early to tell. Let’s see how candidate recruitment and fundraising goes. We’ll know more in April.
Ethan: With Obama’s popularity plummeting, I do think we may lose one of the two bodies. That said, we still have Ben Grant running our party. The dude almost single-handedly won the Legislature back in 2012 after we received one of the biggest drubbings of our lifetime.
Phil: Yeah, well, don’t forget that we had the Messiah Charlie Webster who orchestrated our 2010 sweep, and then got swept under two years later. Your boy Ben may suffer the same fate, especially now that we have Rick Bennett at the helm.
Ethan: Well, Rick does have better hair than Ben.
Phil: One thing is clear, its going to be a “doozy” of a year, as you city folk say.