Election Day is Tuesday and I will now attempt to channel my inner Swami ... without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2010 Midterms.
U.S. Senate Race (WV): John Raese has fared far better than I anticipated. My earlier predictions about his smooth primary win and large bank account have proven quite true. The man who wouldn't be a "rubber stamp" for Obama has pushed a massive effort to link Governor Joe Manchin to an increasingly unpopular president and polls indicate the race is tight.
Though Raese has made a strong push, I don't see it being enough. West Virginians, though not formally educated, are smart enough to see through Raese's tactics. Raese has no solid position on any issue and his campaign is based on negativity. West Virginians will come out to support a governor who has succeeded in stabilizing the state government's spending and helped solve a few critical problems (i.e. worker's compensation). Personally, I'm not a fan of either candidate but ...
Prediction: Manchin wins, 54% to 45% (the other 1% to Jesse Johnson).
House of Representatives (3rd district WV): Longtime incumbent Nick Rahall is looking for his 18th consecutive term representing Southern West Virginia. His challenger? None other than "Spike" Maynard, former state Supreme Court Justice. This campaign has been bitter. Maynard has leveled crazy (yet false) allegations against Rahall, including implications that Rahall is supported by terrorists. Rahall has fired back with heat of his own, strongly emphasizing Maynard's connection/friendship with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship (who might be the most hated man in West Virginia).
Prediction: Maynard's ads are signs of desperation, Rahall in a walk, 59% to 41%.
House of Representatives (1st district WV): Hard race to figure out -- Mike Oliverio unseated longtime incumbent Alan Mollohan in the Democratic primary but now faces a Republican challenger who seems to mirror most of his views. People in the 1st district don't seem to know the difference between the two new guys. Interesting point about this race: outside groups have spent nearly $2.5 million collectively on political ads that are "against" one candidate or the other. Those same outside groups have spent less than $5,000 on ads encouraging people to vote "for" one candidate or the other.
Prediction: People don't know the difference between the two -- and when that happens in the Mountain State, they roll with the Democrat. Oliverio in a close one, 52% to 48%.
House of Representatives (2nd district WV): Shelley Moore-Capito is a lock. Bet the farm.
Prediction: Capito, 67%, Graf 33%.
Other predictions of note:
Democrats hold the House and Senate ... barely.
We will see the end of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, even if Democrats hold the House, which is definitely not a guarantee.
California will vote down Proposition 19, which would legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.
Meghan McCain's book "Dirty Sexy Politics" will be crappy, but she's easy on the eyes.
Oh, and the Miami Heat will win exactly 60 games this season.