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A bold forecast of things to come

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Happy New Year. Here’s a toast to it being a happier year than this past one. Actually the entire decade has been pretty grim in many ways. Let’s hope this decade is an improvement.

In keeping with tradition, herewith are some predictions about what may be in store for our state in the coming year.

This year will be another uncertain one as far as our leadership is concerned. It was during the opening week of January 2009 that Gov. Bill Richardson announced he wouldn’t be leaving for Washington.

The governor’s announcement led to a year of speculation about what would happen next. It is easy to predict the speculation will continue.

Despite that speculation, I predict Gov. Richardson will remain in office through the final year of his term. After all, that’s what he told us and, so far, he’s kept his word longer than Brett Favre or Urban Meyer.

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish will best former state GOP Chairman Allen Weh in the November gubernatorial election. The lieutenant governor race remains too unpredictable on both sides.

So far, U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich appears to be making the right moves to stay in his 1st Congressional District office. The 2nd Congressional District race, down south, appears to be another close one that can go either way.

In the 3rd Congressional District, look for libertarian activist Adam Kokesh to out-hustle Tom Mullins in  the Republican primary.

That isn’t necessarily the state GOP’s preferred outcome but Kokesh can pick up votes in the November general election from Libertarians, Greens and independents. It still won’t be enough for a Republican victory in the heavily Democratic district.

The economy will remain lame throughout the year. The 30-day session of the Legislature beginning Jan. 19, will be the most contentious ever. At least $600 million still must be cut or taxes raised in order to balance the budget.

Lawmakers will have to decide the proper balance between budget cutting and tax raising. At this point, legislative opinions range from $0 to $600 million on both sides of the equation.

House members must stand for reelection this year. Some, both Republican and Democrat, will be in trouble in their own party primaries for votes they cast this year on budget cutting.

In 2008, a group of left-leaning nonprofit organizations defeated three Democratic lawmakers who hadn’t been liberal enough. Seeing their success, a right-leaning nonprofit is organizing to do much the same.

Ethics reform will be on everyone’s lips and next to nothing will be done about it – as usual. Democratic corruption will be the major election focus of GOP campaigns.

But their only solution will be to throw out the Democrats. As we know from watching changing administrations in Washington, corruption is bipartisan. It follows whichever party is in power.

Former Gov. Gary Johnson will continue to be more visible through his effort to sell libertarian views, especially on marijuana legalization. He won’t get invited to any Republican gatherings, but talk shows will enjoy interviewing him.

Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias will stay in the news. Congress is still investigating the political firings of U.S. attorneys around the country, and Iglesias doesn’t mind talking about it.

Former state Senate leader Manny Aragon will get in the best physical shape he has ever enjoyed. Federal prison time does have a few benefits.

The search for Billy the Kid’s DNA is not over yet. We’ll be hearing more about our most famous New Mexican this year.

And finally, the world will not end on Dec. 21, 2012 but we’ll hear much about it the next three years. The Mayan calendar ends on that date but Mayans say they know how to make a new calendar. They’ve done it before.

I’ll also predict that on Dec. 22, 2012, the talk will turn to an Isaac Newton prediction that the world will end in 2060.

E-mail Jay Miller at insidethecapitol@hotmail.com.