Now that 2014 is resigned to the dustbin of history, here are some fearless predictions about what might happen in 2015.
At least two Republicans will announce they are challenging Sen. Mike Lee in 2016. One or both of those announcements will come before the end of March.
Ralph Becker and Jackie Biskupski will be the top-two candidates in August’s primary election for Salt Lake City Mayor, meaning they will advance to the general election in November. Becker will narrowly beat Biskupski for a third term in office. The race will be one of the most expensive mayoral contests in Salt Lake City history.
Sen. Mike Lee will continue to rehabilitate his public image in Utah. Despite being called an embarrassment by Jon Huntsman Sr., Lee will keep his head down and mostly stay out of the limelight this year. However, mostly is relative as Lee will get involved in at least one or two imbroglios where he will infuriate both Democrats and moderate Republicans.
The Salt Lake Tribune will continue to publish books about subjects and people that may not deserve such treatment. Forthcoming titles will include “Hey, remember how we forced John Swallow to resign from office (even though City Weekly totally beat us to the story),” “Zion Curtains – Utah’s stupidest tourist attraction,” “Jackie B! The story of Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayoral candidate,” and “Lock me up, lock me down – moving Utah’s prison.”
Sen. Jim Dabakis, not getting enough of the attention he craves from the media, will announce his intention to run for either U.S. Senator or Governor in 2016. Utah collectively yawns.
The fight over Healthy Utah will be one of the bloodiest (relatively) that we’ve seen in Utah politics in a long while. An accord between lawmakers and Gov. Gary Herbert will only be reached after Herbert threatens to call lawmakers into a special session immediately following the conclusion of the regular session. The final product will be somewhere in the middle – not covering as many Utahns as Herbert wants, but won’t be as limited as some legislators are hoping for.
Rep. Mia Love will have a solid first year in office and fail to ignite any controversies, despite the fervent hopes of Utah Democrats. Despite some initial media attention, Love will learn about the anonymity that comes with being a freshman in Congress.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz will ascend to near legendary status in conservative media circles while heading the House Oversight Committee. He will keep the heat on the Obama Administration and become a near-permanent fixture on Fox News. He will get the ultimate honor as Fox News will begin running ads offering a "Jason Chaffetz Chia pet," which will mirror his hairstyle nicely.
Sen. Jim Dabakis, not getting enough of the attention he craves from the media, will start at least 25 more online petitions, including an effort to get rid of the Zion Curtain. He will hold rallies in downtown Salt Lake City that will draw literally dozens of attendees. His efforts will be reported on breathlessly by left-leaning blogs and his followers on social media, but basically ignored by everyone else.
At least one Utah political figure will commit a major social media gaffe, posting something they thought was a good idea at the time until it blows up in their face. In today’s online media culture, this is an inevitability.
It will be another tough year for Utah’s media. At least one outlet will go through a high-profile round of layoffs leaving another group of solid journalists looking for work.
Peter Corroon and James Evans will each win another term as the head of the Utah Democratic and Republican party, respectively.
Sen. Jim Dabakis, not getting enough of the attention he craves from the media, will join forces with former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson to form a musical duo. They will dissolve their partnership before it ever gets off the ground because they can’t decide which one of them should get top billing.