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Michael Cianchette is a Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan and in-house counsel to a number of businesses in southern Maine. He was a chief counsel to former Gov. Paul LePage.
Thankfully, the time of fright is nearly at an end.
No, not Halloween. The election.
For seemingly forever, we’ve been subjected to an onslaught of advertisements attempting to scare the bejeezus out of us. “Susan Collins is a potato-eating fire monster!” “Joe Biden made a pact with lizard people to steal America’s gold!”
Yet, the same way children outgrow irrational fear of monsters under the bed, hopefully the electorate will outgrow the juvenile attempts to scare us into voting a certain way.
With that, I’m going to attempt a seance with the political spirits and predict the ultimate outcome of Tuesday’s election. Even if we won’t likely know the final results for days — or weeks — yet to come.
We will start with the easy one. Chellie Pingree will be returning to Washington. Shocking, I know.
The 2nd Congressional District isn’t so simple. Jared Golden, as a first-term representative, should be in a precarious position, particularly given the fact that Donald Trump won the district four years ago. Dale Crafts is a traditional Republican, with strong faith, a personal story and small-business experience. In another time, he would do very well.
But Golden is going to win.
He has walked a fine line his first two years in office. He is certainly a Democrat, voting to impeach President Trump — despite his district’s 2016 vote — and pushing numerous orthodox left-leaning policy prescriptions.
But he has also struck out, voting against one of the impeachment articles, opposing Nancy Pelosi as House speaker and joining with Republicans on bipartisan coronavirus relief packages to the chagrin of national Democrats. And, notably, he hasn’t endorsed his party’s candidate for U.S. Senate: Sara Gideon.
You can understand why. His legislative service thus far is very similar to Sen. Susan Collins. Both are members of their respective parties, but both give their partisan leaders fits because they won’t fit neatly into a box.
The 2nd District as a whole will irritate national political consultants when Trump again earns their electoral vote. In a hyper-partisan election year, there are going to be a lot of Mainers who check both the Trump and Golden boxes on their ballot despite the fact the latter impeached the former.
For Augusta, I’m going out on a limb and saying that Gov. Janet Mills will be negotiating with a GOP-led senate in the State House. Republicans have one of the strongest rosters of candidates in a long time, including Stephanie Anderson, the former longtime Cumberland County district attorney with 28 years of prosecutorial experience.
While Trump will win a Maine electoral vote, it won’t be enough to propel him to a second term. He will probably come up short in one district in Nebraska, the other state that apportions their electors. I’m betting Joe Biden eeks out a victory in the Electoral College, 270-268.
Part of the reason for this is the inherent chaos of our world. The stock market is undergoing wild drops; COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Not just in the United States, but throughout Western Europe as well.
Rightly or wrongly, people see Biden — and his decades of Washington experience — as calming. That institutional heft will likely lead to his ultimate victory.
And the same will see Collins return to the Senate.
The poll released by Colby College this week had some very interesting results hidden behind the headline. Maine voters overwhelmingly prefer someone who was born here, is from the more rural parts of the state and has a habit of compromising instead of blithely following the party line.
Those attributes describe Collins to a tee, no matter what the silly advertisements say. And Mainers are practical enough to appreciate the gravitas that comes with her likely becoming chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, keeper of the federal checkbook.
So, there are my guesses. I’m betting, after Nov. 3, we will see President-elect Joe Biden, Senate Appropriations Chair Susan Collins, Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree and a Republican player-to-be-named as Maine Senate president.
At least the ads will be over.