Now that 2019 is here, we asked our “Political Insiders” and readers to make their fearless predictions for the coming year in Utah politics.
Those prognostications for the next year followed several themes. As usual we are allowing our respondents to remain anonymous so they could speak freely.
There were several predictions about Salt Lake City and the upcoming election for Mayor:
Jackie will not win a second term
Jackie Biskupski is re-elected
Jim Dabakis is elected SLC Mayor.
Mayor Biskupski will be defeated in a re-election bid. Councilman Mike Jensen will become chairman of the SLCo Council. Jenny Wilson will become the Mayor of SLCo. The Legislature will get their way regarding the Inland Port – albeit SLC mayor will still fight.
Jackie Biskupski loses the mayor’s office.
SLC will be selected by the IOC as the host for a second winter Olympics.
Jackie Biskupski wins another term, which makes no one happy.
Mayor Jackie will easily win re-election.
Many of our respondents had thoughts about the 2020 gubernatorial race, which should heat up sometime in the coming year:
Gary Herbert runs for a third term.
3 Candidates emerge onto the political scene running for Governor who are wealthy businessmen and have no political experience to rely on.
Greg Miller will publicly state he’s considering a run for Governor, but will ultimately choose not to run. Lt. Gov. Cox will definitely decide to run for Governor. Speaker Hughes will definitely decide to run for Governor.
Concerns over how to pay for the future of Medicaid expansion without adversely affecting public education funding will become a daunting realization for any future Governor – and candidates will squirm to think of how to address this potent reality.
State Auditor, John Dougall, will signal a willingness to be a Lt. Gov. candidate on someone’s ticket.
Mia Love will throw her hat in the ring for governor.
Someone from the business world (not named Miller) will emerge as a serious contender for governor of Utah.
Jason Chaffetz will get his own show on Fox News and announce he is NOT running for Governor.
Sean Reyes won’t run, Spencer Cox and Greg Hughes will duke it out during the second half of the year for the usual endorsements, and a tech gazillionaire will enter the race with the support of basically everyone else, throwing the race into chaos, and a battle between insiders and an outsider with the support of everyone from millennial tech employees to the flat-brimmed bros running the major tech companies in Utah County. Bring popcorn.
In the race for Governor, voter support for establishment politicians will prove soft as political outsiders with business chops enter the race and offer voters a better alternative.
There were predictions about the future for Utah’s members of Congress, both current and former:
Senator Romney will gain additional prominence by becoming the “voice of reason” against an increasingly erratic and aggressive POTUS. Former US Senator Hatch will fade rather quietly. US Senator Lee, although the senior senator, will continue to be upstaged by our state’s other Senate seat.
Rob Bishop goes to work for Trump.
Rob Bishop resigns from Congress.
Congressman Rob Bishop will be appointed to President Trump’s Cabinet as Secretary of Interior.
Mike Lee will continue to say really stupid things and Utah Republicans will start looking for an alternative to him.
No longer having an outlet to release his smugness and sanctimony, Orrin Hatch explodes within 60 days of leaving the Senate.
The Legislature was on the minds of several of those who sent us their predictions:
The State Legislature will at least attempt to tackle housing density – likely passing legislation that will use a “carrot” approach to incentivizing jurisdictions to be more lenient in their zoning for greater density. Especially as it relates to infrastructure funding (state grants) and SB136.
gopTODD (aka Todd Weiler) will continue to be a prolific tweeter and polarize those who follow his feed.
The Legislature screws up how to give away a $1 billion surplus.
The Legislature unexpectedly tightens the medical marijuana law it just passed.
The Legislature will, in a year of huge budget surpluses, once again increase taxes.
Moderation from the legislative leadership towards public education.
Utah’s Senators will vote to convict President Trump after impeachment.
Charter School Investigations will affect some in the legislative body.
Some had thoughts about the future of Utah’s dominant political party:
Rob Anderson (against his better judgement) wins a second term as UTGOP Chairman.
The “gang of 51” within the GOP will feel thwarted when SB54 will be found legal and upheld. Dave Bateman will make a bid to become the state chairman of the GOP. Unsavory details of his personal life will derail that bid though. The antics of the state central committee of the GOP will continue to look like a petulant child.
Former state chairman, Thomas Wright, will be instrumental in some statewide political race this year.
And we’ll wrap up with several random local and national predictions:
Utah Republican officials will beat every possible “What about Bill Clinton?”reference into the ground in a desperate and futile attempt to grab the moral high ground when the Mueller report comes out.
Arlyn Bradshaw will beat Jenny Wilson and Shireen Ghorbani for Salt Lake County Mayor.
Trump Jr. indicted with Roger Stone,
The new UTA Board of Trustees will do a good job and begin the slow process of rebuilding public respect for the entity. They will still spend lots and lots of money to make a dent in transit services for a growing urbanizing workforce of commuters though.
Utah will continue to lead the nation in the rate of population growth – and the inherent challenges therein.