A year ago in this space, I correctly predicted that Terry McAuliffe would win Virginia’s governorship in 2013 and Ike Leggett would decide to seek a third term as Montgomery County executive.
Regrettably, I also forecast that District Mayor Vince Gray would be indicted and Washington’s professional football team would win 10 games.
As usual, my crystal ball yielded more misses than scores. Undaunted, I again offer a series of predictions for 2014 about events in the Washington region. The format is multiple-choice, with my selections at the end.
1. The winner of Maryland’s gubernatorial election in November will be:
(a) Anthony Brown (D), currently lieutenant governor, who wins easily after an ugly primary campaign in which he and opponent Doug Gansler sling mud at each other.
(b) Gansler (D), now attorney general, who benefits from massive campaign donations from Montgomery County supporters.
(c) Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery), who catches fire in the primary as the “true liberal.”
(d) The Republican nominee, as pigs sprout wings, icicles form in Hades, etc.
2. Sports fans in the region will be agog when:
(a) Dan Snyder proposes to build a giant, deluxe football stadium with a retractable roof so Washington can host Super Bowls and sneer that Dallas’s mega-arena feels cramped.
(b) Washington emerges as a top contender to host the 2024 Summer Olympics as regional leaders unite to make a credible bid.
(c) The Nationals win the pennant under energetic new manager Matt Williams.
(d) A federal panel strips the Washington NFL franchise of trademark protections for its name (pending appeals) on the grounds that the word disparages Native Americans.
3. In the Virginia political gifts scandal, outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will:
(a) Clear his name, as federal prosecutors conclude there’s not enough evidence to charge him and wife Maureen with corruption.
(b) Plead guilty to reduced charges, in exchange for no jail time for himself and no indictment of Maureen.
(c) Plead not guilty and fight the charges in a sensational trial, because he remains convinced he did nothing wrong.
4. The winner of November’s mayoral election in the District will be:
(a) Incumbent Vince Gray (D), who triumphs over a divided field in the April primary, remains unindicted and beats D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At Large) in the general election.
(b) Catania, who wins on a platform of “I’m not Gray.”
(c) Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who either wins both the primary and the general election or becomes the Democratic nominee later in the year after legal troubles force Gray to step down.
(d) Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) or council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), one of whom emerges instead of Bowser as the favored “anti-Gray” candidate in the primary.
(e) Somebody else.
Caveat: This race is so fluid and uncertain that I shall refuse to feel stupid next year when I get it wrong.
5. Celebrations of the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in September will include:
(a) Renewed debate over changing the national anthem to “America the Beautiful” on the grounds that the current one is militaristic and hard to sing.
(b) A mock, ship-to-shore bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, accompanied by a massive fireworks display.
(c) Chuckling over Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), a rare enthusiast of the War of 1812, who joins the festivities wearing a major general’s uniform in the style of the era.
(d) All of the above.
6. The winner of the election for Montgomery County executive will be:
(a) Incumbent Ike Leggett (D), who’s well-liked if unexciting.
(b) Doug Duncan (D), who wins back his old job after putting Leggett on the defensive over the Silver Spring Transit Center construction fiasco.
(c) County Council member Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), who capitalizes on support from environmentalists and good-government activists.
Note: I’m omitting the Prince George’s county executive election to avoid giving everyone a gimme. Rushern Baker (D) will be reelected.
7. In his top priority of expanding Medicaid in Virginia, new Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) will:
(a) Win a surprise victory in the legislature, after business groups and hospitals put heavy pressure on the Republicans to go along.
(b) Be frustrated, as House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) refuses to give McAuliffe a victory in his first year.
(c) Cut a deal that enlarges Medicaid, but at the cost of giving the GOP a fat tax cut that alienates liberal Democrats.
8. The Washington pro-football team’s won-lost record in the regular season will be:
(a) 12-4. New coaches, easing of salary cap and a healthy RGIII yield a dramatic turnaround.
(b) 9-7. A winning season, but barely.
(c) 6-10. RGIII matures, but weaknesses persist on defense, special teams.
(d) 3-13. Utter dysfunction continues.
My picks: 1. (a); 2. (d); 3. (c); 4. (c); 5. (d); 6. (a); 7. (b); 8. (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/