This is the time of year when most self-appointed political experts try to predict what will happen in the coming year. I took a look inside my own crystal ball and came up with the following events that I think will happen in 2010.
- Governor Gary Herbert avoids a challenger from within his own party and wins the 2010 special election. Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon is the Democratic nominee. Corroon makes a valiant attempt to unseat Herbert, but is outspent and fails to gain more than 40% of the vote.
- The legislature is able to fill a nearly $1 billion hole in the state budget without raising income taxes. However, the budgetary gymnastics require big cuts to state agencies and services.
- Senator Bob Bennett is forced into a primary election after the Republican State Convention. He easily wins the statewide contest, spending his opponent into the ground with superior resources. Bennett prevails in the general election as well, defeating Democrat Sam Granato with at least 60% of the vote.
- The Republicans learn their lesson in choosing a challenger for Rep. Jim Matheson at convention, avoiding a costly primary election. However, Matheson’s superior resources help him win re-election in a landslide.
- Efforts to place two citizen’s initiatives to establish an independent redistricting commission and ethics reform on the 2010 ballot are successful.
- Both ballot initiatives are challenged in court over the wording of the proposal. The Utah Supreme Court rules in favor of initiative backers and both make it on the ballot just before the state deadline for printing ballots. Both ballot initiatives win on election day, but another round of lawsuits delay implementation of the measures.
- Republicans fail to win back a majority on the Salt Lake County Council.
- Democrats fail to make any gains in the state legislature and may even lose a seat or two.
- There will be at least one special legislative session to deal with a bigger than expected budget gap.
- Senator Orrin Hatch begins to hint that he may not seek another term in 2012.
Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section, and don’t be afraid to bring the heat.