Predictions for 2013 for Washington region

In my column a year ago, I made predictions for 2012 that included as a multiple-choice option that Redskins owner Dan Snyder would “celebrate as a new, young quarterback . . . leads team to playoffs with a 10-6 record.”

Happily for the team, that’s precisely what transpired. Sadly for my forecasting record, I picked a less optimistic scenario and predicted that they’d improve only to 8-8.

Typical. I got only four out of 10 correct. The one good pick worth a brag was my forecast 10 months before Election Day that both President Obama and then-Senate candidate Tim Kaine would win in Virginia.

(Global warming rendered moot my prediction about whether the federal government’s new snow closing guidelines would be effective. We didn’t have a big enough snowstorm to find out.)

Here, for the fourth year, is an array of predictions about the Washington region. My choices for 2013 are at the end. As always, credit for the quiz format goes to the late New York Times columnist William Safire.

1. In the District, U.S. Attorney Ron Machen’s investigation into Mayor Vince Gray’s 2010 campaign will result in:

a. Gray’s resignation in the face of criminal charges. The mayor bows out, as several former associates agree to testify against him in plea agreements with Machen.

b. Gray’s vindication. Machen admits sheepishly that there’s no evidence the mayor was involved in the campaign’s crookedness. (Three people have pleaded guilty.) The mayor’s 2014 reelection campaign slogan: “I told you so.”

c. Gray is indicted but defiantly remains in office to fight the charges at trial. The ensuing court contest paralyzes city business and attracts worldwide attention.

d. The sorry affair muddles forward without conclusion. D.C. power brokers quietly urge the Justice Department to force Machen to bring charges or give up.

2. The winner of Virginia’s gubernatorial election in November will be:

a. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R). He moves to the center for the campaign and successfully paints opponent Terry McAuliffe (D) as lacking either Virginia roots or governing experience.

b. McAuliffe, a businessman and former Democratic National Committee chairman. He uses the Obama campaign database to gin up liberal turnout and stresses Cuccinelli’s record as a hero to extremists in the tea party and religious right.

c. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R). He jumps in as an independent and transforms state politics by assembling a winning coalition of moderates unhappy with both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe.

3. Polishing his legacy in his second-to-last legislative session, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley successfully pushes through:

a. Offshore wind power.

b. A gasoline tax increase to help pay for the Purple Line (finally).

c. An assault weapons ban.

d. Repeal of the death penalty.

e. (a) and (c).

f. (b) and (d).

4. In Richmond, the General Assembly decision on whether to confirm the reappointment of University of Virginia Rector Helen Dragas — despite her unsuccessful effort to oust U-Va. President Teresa Sullivan — will be:

a. Dragas is approved narrowly, as Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) twists legislators’ arms to support the nominee, and powerful politicians of both parties back Dragas because of her connections to the state’s business elite.

b. Dragas loses because of strong opposition from the university, alumni and politicians throughout the state dismayed by her failed coup and continuing inability to explain it satisfactorily.

5. In Montgomery County, the campaign for the 2014 Democratic nomination for county executive will be transformed by:

a. Incumbent Ike Leggett’s surprise move to run for lieutenant governor, triggering an avalanche of County Council members tumbling into the race to oppose former county executive Doug Duncan.

b. A groundswell for council member Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), backed by do-good civic associations and environmental interests.

c. Leggett’s decision to seek a third term, because he can’t stand the prospect that Duncan might win and govern when the economy is recovering — a pleasure that Leggett never enjoyed.

6. The winner of the District special election to pick an at-large council member to replace Phil Mendelson will be:

a. Prominent Republican Patrick Mara, who wins in his third outing by stressing clean government and appealing to new residents who are transforming the city electorate.

b. Longtime Democratic operative Anita Bonds , who benefits from unified support of the old party establishment concerned that it’s losing its grip on the city.

c. Democrat-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat Michael Brown, who regains a seat after just losing one to Independent David Grosso.

d. Newcomer Elissa Silverman, who impresses voters with her knowledge of city affairs gained from work at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, Washington City Paper and The Washington Post.

7. Redskins owner Dan Snyder will:

a. Celebrate a 12-4 record, as RGIII and Alfred Morris only get better in their second year.

b. Be satisfied with 10-6 again, as momentum is slowed by a tougher schedule and shortage of draft picks.

c. Mourn as RGIII gets injured early in season and team slips to 8-8.

d. Resume meddling in football operations and send team skidding to 6-10. Tailgaters storm his mansion in Potomac.

My picks: 1. (a). 2. (b). 3. (e). 4. (b). 5. (c). 6. (a). 7. (b). Happy new year!

I discuss local issues Friday at 8:50 a.m. on WAMU (88.5 FM). For previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/mccartney.

Robert McCartney’s column on local issues appears Thursdays and Sundays in The Post’s Metro section.
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