by Carl P. Leubsdorf
Last year’s column successfully predicted Democratic Senate gains and a smaller-than-expected Republican House takeover. Here is our not-totally-serious forecast for 2023:
JANUARY — Rep. Kevin McCarthy falls six votes short of 218 in House speaker election as 10 Freedom Caucus members vote for challenger Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs. As deadlock persists, Newt Gingrich offers to return as speaker. President Joe Biden stuns Democrats by announcing he won’t seek second term. House Republicans ditch McCarthy and embrace Gingrich, who is elected on the fourth ballot. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene named Intelligence Committee chair. After Kari Lake fails to reverse 2022 Arizona result, she announces she is moving to Kentucky.
FEBRUARY — VP Kamala Harris says she may seek presidency. Cincinnati Bengals defeat Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl. Democratic National Committee approves new primary schedule: South Carolina, Feb. 3; New Hampshire and Nevada, Feb. 6; Michigan, Feb. 20; Super Tuesday, March 5. Washington grand jury indicts former President Donald Trump on charge of obstructing the certification of 2020 electoral votes. Lake announces bid for Kentucky governor. Greene launches probe of U.S. spending in Ukraine.
MARCH — Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former VP Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all join GOP race against Trump. U.S. attorney in Delaware announces plea bargain with Hunter Biden in which he pleads guilty to one count of tax evasion. New Hampshire secretary of state, citing state law and defying DNC, moves primary to Tuesday, Jan. 24, 11 days ahead of South Carolina. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg resigns to seek presidency.
APRIL — Harris says she is weighing presidential bid. Atlanta grand jury indicts Trump for trying to reverse 2020 Georgia result. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani disbarred in District of Columbia for pressing baseless 2020 Trump election challenge. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and California Gov. Gavin Newsom join Democratic race. DNC, refusing to recognize Jan. 24 New Hampshire primary, asks candidates to stay away. House Ethics Committee probes unreported Gingrich contributions to 2022 GOP House campaigns.
MAY — Economy continues growth, defying recession forecasts. Biden job approval soars to 51. Eight active Democratic candidates attend New Hampshire Democratic Party convention, ignoring DNC pleas. DNC chair threatens to bar them from debates. Giuliani, barred from working as lawyer, announces he will run for president. Gingrich resigns, succeeded by Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Trump names “My Kevin” McCarthy as campaign manager. Lake loses Kentucky primary, claims it was rigged. Aaron Judge, ahead of own 2022 pace, hits 33rd home run.
JUNE — MSNBC holds
first Democratic presidential debate; ignoring DNC, all active candidates accept. Press consensus: The winner is Buttigieg. Trump names Lake as 2024 running mate. Colorado Avalanche retain Stanley Cup; New Orleans Pelicans win NBA. House rejects debt ceiling increase, forcing federal government shutdown. Rangers pitcher Jacob DeGrom leads majors at 9-1. Rep. Ronny Jackson launches GOP primary challenge to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as the “true conservative.” As Ukrainians continue to recover lost land, Russian President Vladimir Putin rules out cease-fire.
JULY — Newsmax holds first sanctioned GOP presidential debate July 4 in Des Moines; Trump assails Pence and Pompeo as traitors to his presidency. Ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, 72, says GOP needs fresh blood. After Lake says she respects Constitution, Trump replaces her with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Buttigieg paces Democratic race at 23%, unannounced candidate Harris at 15. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joins GOP race and is immediately hailed as front-runner. With Trump running fifth in GOP polls at 11%, Noem resigns as Trump’s running mate and says she too will seek presidency.
AUGUST — Harris says she will decide presidential bid soon. In Iowa GOP straw poll, Pence unexpectedly wins with 17%, followed closely by Noem and Pompeo. DeSantis is fourth at 9%, 1 point ahead of Trump. DeGrom on IL with sore back. Trump says straw poll was rigged. House votes to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for failing to fix border problem. Government stays shut; stock market plunges. Republicans cave, pass bill raising debt ceiling.
SEPTEMBER — Harris opts out of 2024 race, saying it’s too late to put together a successful campaign. Senate spurns Mayorkas trial. Judge breaks own AL homer record with 67. Trump goes on trial in Atlanta. Putin, claiming victory, calls for Ukraine cease-fire. Ukraine President Zelenskyy, claiming victory, rejects it. $300 million Mets win NL East by 23 games. Iowa Democrats announce non-binding presidential straw poll at its Jan. 16 caucuses. Hung jury in Atlanta Trump case, 11-1 for conviction. Texas AG Ken Paxton goes on trial for securities fraud, eight years after indictment.
OCTOBER — DeGrom return helps Texas Rangers reach ALCS vs. Yankees but Judge HR puts Yankees in World Series against Mets. Congress fails to approve federal funding by Oct. 1 deadline, shutting down government for second time this year. Biden names Arizona independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, ending threat of three-way 2024 Arizona Senate race. Yankees edge Mets 4-3 in World Series.
NOVEMBER — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is surprise star of Iowa Democratic Liberty and Justice Dinner. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear narrowly defeats Republican Attorney General David Cameron in Kentucky governor’s race. GOP Sen. John Kennedy elected Louisiana governor. Paxton acquitted in fraud case, joins Republican primary race against Cruz. Polls show close GOP race: Trump 23, DeSantis 21, Pence 20, Noem 15.
DECEMBER — Congress agrees to fund government at last year’s level, ending 63-day impasse. Trump dismisses “My Kevin” McCarthy as campaign manager, names TV host Tucker Carlson. Biden endorses Whitmer for Democratic nomination. Mets owner Steve Cohen signs free agent OF-P Shohei Ohtani for $599 million over nine years. Unbeaten Cowboys clinch NFC East. Trump and Whitmer lead White House fields. D.C. judge sets Trump trial date for Jan. 16, date of Iowa caucuses.