Phil Harriman (left) and Ethan Strimling (right). Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on

Ethan: Although I agree with our editor’s assessment earlier this month that we, as a team, were less than exceptional in our 21 predictions for 2021, I need to point out that my individual butt kicked your individual butt.

Phil: True dat. As Tom Brady says, in team sports, individual stats have no place. That said, I worked on my game last off-season for our 22 predictions in 2022.

Ethan: Let’s start with the 2022 race for governor.

Phil: You heard it here first. Gov. Paul LePage will be the first governor in modern history to serve two consecutive terms, and then come back to win a third.

Ethan: I am fearful you are correct. Our only saving grace is that Gov. Janet Mills is savvy enough to know she can’t win without massive turnout from progressives. I predict she wins a squeaker, but only after she shows working families some serious love this year. If she doesn’t, LePage will win (state shutdowns are back!).

Phil: OK, how about the 2nd Congressional District?

Ethan: I can’t believe I am saying this, but I believe Bruce Poliquin will be heading back to Congress. Look, 2022 is going to be a tough year for Democrats, no matter what, but Rep. Jared Golden has played too many games. He needs Democrats desperately to turn out for him, but after his vote against Build Back Better (which I predict will not pass the Senate) he jumped the shark.

Phil: I think BBB will pass (although closer to the $1.5 trillion that Sen. Joe Manchin said was his bottom line). While I agree that it will be a tough year for Democrats (U.S. House and Senate will go Republican, two more of my predictions), I think Golden has found the Susan Collins sweet spot. When BBB pases without the tax giveaway, he will look like a hero and win reelection.

Ethan: Unfortunately, he will still be on the record as having voted against family medical leave, immigrant safeguards and vital environmental protections. That said, I believe you are correct regarding the U.S. House going red (I assume we both predict that Chellie Pingree will win), but the Senate will stay blue. In part, because one of my wildcard predictions is that Sen. Marco Rubio will lose reelection in Florida. Hello Sen. Val Demings!

Phil: Yes on Pingree. At the State House, I see LePage having a split Legislature. Democrats will hang onto the Senate, but will drop below 20. Republicans will take the House.

Ethan: Maine Senate remains 20-plus Democrats, House stays blue.

Phil: For my first wild card prediction: Sen. Joe Manchin officially becomes an independent.

Ethan: That will only happen if Republicans take the Senate. Here’s mine – inflation will drop back down below 4 percent before Election Day.

Phil: Four percent is good? My next is that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis officially enters the race for president.

Ethan: My next is that Portland passes a democratically elected executive mayor form of government, finally ridding us of the KKK-created anti-democratic mess we have lived under for 100 years.

Phil: Democracy is usually the way to go. Next, I predict that recycling batteries will become such a hot-button issue that a top environmental group will demand Congress impose standards for electric vehicles.

Ethan: My final prediction: “Gov. Bill de Blasio.” De Blasio wins the Democratic primary for governor of New York and beats Andrew Giuliani in the general election.

Phil: And for my final prediction, “President Kamala Harris.” I predict President Joe Biden gets a serious enough illness that he has to turn over the nuclear codes for at least a day.

Ethan: Happy New Year, my brother.

Phil: Happy New Year.