Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to this special edition of "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. This is the annual Journalists' Roundtable prediction show. Joining me to preview 2012 are Doug Maceachern of "The Arizona Republic." Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. And Steve Goldstein of KJZZ radio. Before we look ahead to the coming year, let's review how our panel did in predicting what would happen in 2011. Producer Steve Clawson has the recap.
Steve Clawson: One of the top issues heading to 2011 was who would win the Phoenix mayor's race.
>> I think Wes Gullett is, I think, he's -- he's got some political savvy and I think he'll pull it off.
>> I think Wes Gullett and Greg Stanton in close second.
>> I’m gonna suggest Claude Maddux out of the surviving-.
Steve Clawson: Greg Stanton defeated Wes Gullett with 56% of the vote. Another political issue involved the new census figures,and how many congressional districts Arizona would have for the 2012 election.
>> Our population slowed up but I think it's still going to be 10, I think it's slowed down.
>> I think the census was low in counting and didn't do a good job in counting Hispanics, nine.
Steve Clawson: Arizona received one new congressional district to bring the state's total to nine. With the economy dominating the news, our national unemployment rate in December 2011.
>> I think going down half a percent. 9.3.
>> I'm going to say 8.9.
Steve Clawson: US Jobless rate currently stands at 8.6%. There were several legal questions to be decided this year. One involved how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on Arizona's employer sanctions law.
>> I think the law will be upheld and if they strike any it will be the e-verify mandate.
>> I think there's a possible 5-3 but I think it's a four.
>> I think a 4-4 tie. It will be affirmed.
Steve Clawson: In May, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to uphold the employer sanctions law. Our panel was also asked to predict the status of the controversial S.B. 1070 in 2011, it’s going to be another one of those 5-4 votes and I think the Supreme Court is going to affirm it.
>> I think S.B. 1070 lives and I think the heat goes down as the years goes by.
>> I believe the Ninth Circuit will uphold most of the injunctions and dissolve one small piece of it. Uphold the injunctions and I think the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't get involved.
Steve Clawson: In April, the 9th circuit court upheld a lower court's ruling suspending key provisions of the law. In August, the state filed a petition with the US Supreme Court to review that ruling. No final determination has been made. In 2011,the Supreme Court also looked at another high-profile case from Arizona.
Ted Simons: Clean elections, matching funds. How does the high court look at that?
>> Hasta la Bye-bye.
>> The John Robert's court doesn't like public campaign financing, so matching funds are gone.
>> Out of here.
Steve Clawson: On June 27th, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against matching funds. Sticking with the Supreme court theme, there was a question as to the make up of the court in 2011.
Ted Simons: Will there be a vacancy on the Supreme Court next year?
>> No. I will say no, though though I’m thinking yes.
>> Health issues arise, political issues arise, and I think somebody will say this is a good time to get out.
Steve Clawson: No justices announced a retirement this year. Another legal issue heading into 2011 involved the battle against so-called anchor babies.
Ted Simons: Will Russell Pearce win his fight against the 14th amendment?
>> If by definition, you mean will there be a law enacted that denies a birth certificate, I don't think so.
>> I don't think it's going to get enough traction going forward. I think there's enough of a faction problem in the senate where Russell Pearce can't do it.
>> I think senator Pearce will get the legislature to go along with some sort of anchor baby law that I really believe that Governor Brewer would veto.
Steve Clawson: Although legislation was introduced it was not approved. Of the bills that WERE approved in 2011, the question was how many would Governor Jan Brewer veto?
>> With such a dominant Republican legislature, if it's bumping against 10, I think that constitutes a lot.
>> I'm going to say four.
>> If we’re not talking light items, down to five.
Steve Clawson: Governor Brewer vetoed a total of 29 bills. In business news, the question was asked about a possible merger involving US Airways.
>> I'm thinking no. I don't think it will happen within the next calendar year.
>> What's funny, Doug parker is a huge fan of consolidation. The only opportunity is American airlines and there's all sorts of problems with that. Though he wants it, there won't be.
>> I don't see a merger in the future.
Steve Clawson: US Airways did not merge with another carrier in 2011. Turning to Sports, how would the Arizona state football team do in 2011 and would the team earn a bowl invitation?
>> I think they'll do enough to qualify for some sort of bowl.
Ted Simons: Okay, another tiebreaker here, What record are they going to have next season?
>> I think they'll win seven.
>> Eight and four. A pretty good bowl game because they have decent quarterback play but I still think that Dennis Erikson will be gone this time. Next year at this time he'll be gone.
>> I’m predicting Nine wins and I'm not -- I don't think they'll make a BCS bowl bid but I think at least into -- toward the end. November, still have a fighting chance for it.
>> They finished with a record of six and six and will play Boise State in the Las Vegas bowl. And finally, out panelists always ask to make a long shot, at a sure thing prediction.
>> My long shot is, even though we'll have a medical marijuana law, by this time next year, we'll have 10,000 fewer people in Arizona who actually have one of these cards.
>> We'll have the tape to show next year, Jan Brewer is going to say, again, I have did that.
>> The suns will be so mediocre, at some point in 2011, Steve Nash will be traded.
Ted Simons: What’s your sure shot?
>> After 13, 14 years together, four of the five Maricopa supervisors, two of those four will decide not to run for reelection.
>> My long shot, I think gas prices will be over $3.50 by this time next year. And sure thing, I think the U.S. house voted to defund ObamaCare at some point.
Steve Clawson: Now it's time to reveal this year's winner. Third place is Doug Maceachern with 6 points. Steve Goldstein second, with 6.5. And this year's winner, with a score of seven points, is Howie Fischer.
Ted Simons: so there you go, Congratulations, Howie, on your win. Doug, you finished third. That's not bad. Actually it is.
Doug MacEachearn: I won and everybody got to hear the wrong predictions.
Ted Simons: Funny how that works.
Doug MacEarhearn: People keep tuning in and think we know what the heck we're talking about.
Steve Goldstien: I think he was generous with the grading system.
Ted Simons: We’ve got next year's show to worry about. Our first question, Doug, start with you, who wins the Republican primary -- presidential preference election if you will, in February in Arizona.
Doug MacEarhearn: I think that organization -- I think Mitt Romney will win and financial backing will start to mean something after the first of the year.
Ted Simons: Bonus question, who wins the Republican nomination?
Doug MacEarhern: I think Romney will win it.
Ted Simons: Okay Howie.
Howard Fischer: I think Romney is going to take Arizona, he does have organization here and I certainly think the LDS influence helps. I'm going go with an idea that some host of a major nightly TV show suggested and go out on a limb and say a deadlocked convention and we've got Chris Christie running.
Ted Simons: I like that prediction. Where did you get that from?
Howard Fischer: UH --
Steve Goldstien: I don’t like conventional wisdom, Ted, based on feeling emboldened because of my half point from last year, I'm going go with Doug and say Mitt Romney is going to win Arizona, he got the endorsement from Dan Quayle, that’s got to help for something, and will ultimately win the Republican nomination as well.
Ted Simons: Next question: Will President Obama be reelected?
Steve Goldstien: Yes.
Ted Simons: Will President Obama be reelected? Doug McEachearn?
Doug McEachearn: I think it hinges on whether or not there's a third party candidate that’s going to draw votes. If it's Ron Paul, it could happen. I think in the end, Ron Paul will not run and the Republican wins.
Ted Simons: The Republican wins?
Doug McEachearn: Yes.
Ted Simons: Interesting. Will the president be reelected?
Howard Fischer: I think he will. I think the economy is getting better, slowly. His job is to convince folks it's getting better fast enough to be happy. I think pulling the troops out of Iraq helps, I think the drawdowns in Afghanistan will help and I don't see out of the great Republican field, anybody who is really striking a spark.
Ted Simons: How many electoral votes will the winning candidate receive?
Doug McEachearn: Well, there's where it really will end up hinging on just -- I'm sure it will come down to one swing state. I think it will be ultimately 276 votes.
Ted Simons: What do you make Howie?
Howard Fischer: 278.
Ted Simons: 276, 278?
Howard Fischer: This is like The Price is Right.
Steve Goldstien: I have Obama, 298. Two states he'll not win this time are Florida and Virginia.
Ted Simons: All right. Let's get closer to home here. Doug, who will be elected to replace John Kyl in the U.S. senate?
Doug McEachearn: I think the virtual certainty of this race has pushed the winner -- the guy who's going to win into the background practically because it's like a non-race. But I think that Jeff Flake will replace Jon Kyl.
Howard Fischer: I think that Carmona has an interesting shot. I realize that sitting here in December, he's still a relative unknown but I think he's got the organization and I think he's going to have the money and I think that Flake has never had a true statewide race and some of his positions on immigration are going to kick him in the butt.
Ted Simons: So Carmona takes it?
Howard Fischer: Yes.
Ted Simons: What do you think Steve?
Steve Goldstien: I think flake, although his name recognition isn’t statewide, he has the money advantage. Will carton won't be much. And Carmona is going to rub enough Democrats the wrong way, they won't vote for him.
Ted Simons: Alright Steve, the R-D breakdown. Republicans. Democrats. What’s the breakdown of the delegation next go around.
Steve Goldstien: I'm going to go with six Republicans and three Democrats.
Ted Simons: Okay Howie, give us the numbers here.
Howard Fischer: Actually, I like that number, of course, we have to see the redistricting maps which keep getting changed on a daily basis. But I think six and three makes sense.
Ted Simons: Okay, we’ve got two six and threes, what do you got Doug?
Doug MacEachearn: I had six and three, but I just can't -- [Laughter] -- I can't bear us all being wrong. So I think a five, four breakdown is possible given the new redistricting maps.
Ted Simons: Not necessarily a question for computing purposes but does Obama do well in Arizona?
Doug MacEachearn: I don't believe he will.
Ted Simons: But you still see a five, four, huh?
Doug MacEachearn: Yes. I'm not sure who the candidate will be. It will be a special candidate.
Ted Simons: Ok, what do you think? Will the president do well in Arizona?
Howard Fischer: I think the President will pick up perhaps 44% to 46%. Again, it's close -- close only counts in horseshoes and it doesn’t really make a difference, but I think there are enough folks here -- this has become more of a purple state rather than red or blue state.
Ted Simons: Closer than the last election, do you think?
Steve Goldstien: Closer than the last election? The purple state, I'm not buying that, but I'll say 44-46% sounds ok.
Tes Simons: Steve, we’ll start with you, will any Arizona incumbent member of congress be defeated.
Steve Goldstien: Because of Mr. MacEachearn, I will be bold on this. I will say two. I will say Paul Goshart, and Raul Grijalva -- I think it will weaken him enough.
Ted Simons: Are you as bold, Howie?
Howard Fischer: No, I think people were ticked off at Raul because of the fact he called for the boycott, he's not going to be caught flat-footed. I think Goshart had some problems with Kirkpatrick running against him. Ben Quayle, maybe. And again, some has do with the redistricting lines. If he's in the same district as Schweickart, now all bets are off.
Ted Simons: The bets are on, actually Howie, we can’t clear the table quite yet. We need to hear from Doug.
Doug MacEachearn: I think it's possible that GOSHART could lose.
Ted Simons: So one.
Ted Simons: Yes.
Ted Simons: Okay, Doug? Will Democrats retake the U.S. house?
Doug MacEachearn: I think if there is a dead locked certainty in this coming election cycle, the fact is they will not.
Ted Simons: What do you think, Howie?
Howard Fischer: No, I think there's still enough dissatisfaction and even if Obama does manage to win reelection, I think they like the idea of the house being in Republican hands.
Ted Simons: Steve?
Steve Goldstien: If the economy somehow takes off, there's a chance Obama gets more people to the polls -- no.
Ted Simons: Will Republicans win control of the U.S. senate?
Steve Goldstien: I'm going to say narrowly yes.
Ted Simons: Yes?
Steve Goldstien: Yes.
Ted Simons: What do you think, Howie?
Howard Fischer: That I don't see. Again, it was a good year for Republicans last time, but with the president at the top of the ticket and that brings out a lot of folks, I don't see it. I think that -- they could pick up a seat.
Ted Simons: Uh-huh.
Howard Fischer: But I don't see them taking control.
Doug MacEacheran: There are 31 open seats, and in this coming election. 21 being contested are Democrats and that's a lot of seats to protect and I think that in this election cycle, it’s going to be tough for them to keep them so, I think Republicans will take control of the senate.
Ted Simons: All right. Get back close to home here. When will the legislature adjourn sine die?
Doug MacEachearn: I see no reason why they should change. And why they should be substantially different from 2011 when they adjourned April 20th. I'm going to say April 24th.
Ted Simons: Do you see anything different this go around, Howie?
Howard Fischer: No, no, perhaps I'm going to give it more flexibility, go into May 1st or 2nd, but there's no reason, but again, anything is possible. I mean if they get into a really big fight over revamping the independent redistricting commission or anything else that could delay it. They wanna get out there, they need to campaign, and they cannot raise any money while in session.
Ted Simons: The election component is interesting, isn't it?
Steve Goldstien: I would say April 17th, partly because of that reason. I think they'll try to get things done as fast as they possibly can.
Ted Simons: alright, Steve, we’ll stick with you. Republican and democrat breakdown of the Arizona house and senate.
Steve Goldstien: I'm going to say the Democrats in the senate will actually lose another seat. It will be 22 to eight Republicans. And the Republicans will lose a couple of seats in the house and make it 38 to 22 Republicans in the house.
Ted Simons: Alright Howie, give me some numbers.
Howie Fischer: I'm -- you know, I'd be interested to see exactly who you think is going to lose at this point, I think the Democrats pick up some seats. Again, the president at the top of the ticket. I think it could be a 36-24 house and an 18-12 senate, Republicans.
Ted Simons: What do you think Doug?
Doug MacEachearn: The story of the redistricting maps has been that the congressional seats and the fact that the Republicans were up in flames about the looks of that. But the truth of it was they did pretty good in the maps that were presented for the legislative seats. I think that will keep -- I'm with Steve, that the Republicans will add a seat in 22 and a couple in the house to 42.
Ted Simons: Interesting, Will sheriff Joe Arpaio win reelection?
Doug MacEachearn: I think the fact that Grijalva called on Arpaio to resign is probably the best thing that happened to Joe's campaign. I think that he will win.
Ted Simons: What do you think, Howie?
Howard Fischer: I think so too. And it's really unfortunate -- I was thinking earlier today, that if Raul and the Democrats could have stayed out, perhaps Joe Might’ve figured it's a good time to retire. Now he's got his back up. You don't count Jow out. No matter how many people are upset about the sex abuse cases, he’s been saying “well, I didn’t know” which is a problem. I think if he wants it, and I've yet to see the Democrats put up a credible candidate, it's his.
Steve Goldstien: He's going to win reelection but not finish his next term.
Ted Simons: All right, kind of a loop here. Want to make sure we get this one right. Steve? Will Russell Pearce run for elective office next year?
Steve Goldstien: I'm going to say yes and I’m going to say for the state legislature again, yes.
Ted Simons: Okay, going back to the capitol. What do you think, Howie?
Howard Fischer: It's funny, right now, Jerry Lewis is going to be in a different district than Russell. Russell has a need to be involved. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Russell will go and do something else and perhaps deal with some sort of Political Action Committee and he’s going to find his future there. Rather than sitting with, you know -- with 29 other folks in the senate.
Ted Simons: So the answer is no?
Howard Fischer: I think the answer is no.
Doug MacEachearn: My guess is somebody in political position in Arizona right now is going to find citizen Pearce a nice -- a lucrative job he can't say no to. I don't think he'll run. I think he'll be happily employed somewhere in governance.
Ted Simons: Ok, Howie, will the U.S. Supreme Court rule on the president's healthcare reform?
Howard Fischer: Well, yes, I think they'll rule. If you want to know what they're going to rule --
Ted Simons: Yeah, let’s go with that one.
Howard Fischer: -- I think they've already been forced to take it. Because you've got so many different conflicting opinions out of so many district courts. They do have to. Could they sidestep a little on procedural grounds, yes, but I think they'll address it.
Ted Simons: Ok. I think we figured --
Steve Goldstien: I'm most intrigued whether Elena Kagan decides to recuse herself or not. I think Anthony Kennedy could do something there. I'm going to say they'll rule as incrementally as they possibly can, so not overturn so called “ObamaCare” entirely, but they want to overturn a lot of it.
Ted Simons: What do you think Doug?
Doug MacEachearn: I think that the court will come to the conclusion there has to be a limit on the federal reach, has to be a limit on the commerce clause application, I think -- I don't think they'll strike down all of Obamacare, but the crucial part, the individual mandate is concerned, I think they will strike it down.
Ted Simons: Alright Howie, you’re the big sports fan here.
Howard Fischer: Lord, not again.
Ted Simons: Will the Diamondbacks repeat as national west champions?
Howard Fischer: No.
Ted Simons: No?
Howard Fischer: No.
Ted Simons: I hesitate to ask why.
Howard Fischer: I just -- I haven't seen -- I don't see the heart in it. I just -- the team is going through the motions.
Ted Simons: Ok. Diamondbacks going through the motions, Steve?
Steve Goldstien: Well, I disagree with my esteemed colleague but I don't think they'll win the division because They have too many players who had career years, who spent a lot of time in the minors, they had a good year, but I think the Giants with the big payroll will come back.
Ted Simons: Interesting, Doug, We've got a couple of naysayers here.
Doug MacEachearn: I don't believe any team that is run by curt Gibson is going to go through any motions, Howie. I'm totally changing my opinion right now. I think they do repeat as west champions.
Ted Simons: Wow, Howie actually influenced your vote. Forget records and divisions, forget all that, the Coyotes going to be here next year?
Doug MacEachearn: That's another story. I've been a major backer since day one, but the string is running out.
Ted Simons: you think they’re adios by this time next year?
Doug MacEachearn: I think that after this season, somebodies going to pull the plug.
Ted Simons: What do you think Howie?
Howard Fischer: I just think it hasn't caught on. It’s in the desert, you’ve got a whole bunch of financial issues and investors and at some point, somebodies’ going to say we could have this franchise sold to a nice Canadian place.
Ted Simons: What do you think Steve?
Steve Goldstien: I think they’re going to be gone. This is a sign, Ted, longtime city manager Ed Beasley, he was a big backer of getting someone to keep the Coyotes here, and he's retiring, I think it's done.
Ted Simons: Alright, Interesting predictions. We have to tally those but, of course, the most exciting part of the program is the long shot and sure thing prediction. Let's start with you, Doug. Long shot, sure thing.
Doug MacEachearn: I'm ready for this one. [Laughter] The sure thing is straightforward. I think Republicans will increase in numbers in both the U.S. house and senate. In some numbers. The long shot, I think the Mayans will be proved right in terms of civilization. I think that -- that European union could break up, that the EUROs could have trouble and banks fail and the Mayans' 2012 prediction come true.
Howard Fischer: So why are we predicting then, Doug? Isn't that awful?
Doug MacEachearn: On the other side of the pond.
Ted Simons: Once again, Doug takes a wild ride there. Long shot, sure shot.
Howard Fischer: My sure shot is, the legislature will come up with a plan to revamp the redistricting commission. Whether it makes the ballot, I don't know, but definitely legislation on that. My long shot is that the Supreme Court will uphold part of 1070 and still keep the injunction in place on the rest of it. I think they'll split the baby on this. Conclude that some sections are clearly preempted by federal law and that some sections the state can implement.
Ted Simons: What do you got Steve?
Steve Goldstien: My sure thing is the longtime local grocery Bashas chain, which has emerged from bankruptcy, they’re going to start selling off, their parts and Eddie Basha will leave and retire to another state. That's my sure thing. My long shot, which is even longer, considering I predicted President Obama would win reelection. If a Republican wins the presidential race, someone will talk Jon Kyl out of retirement and he'll be the CIA director.
Ted Simons: Jon Kyl CIA Director. Can we file this one with your prediction that Janet Napolitano will be on the Supreme Court you made a couple of years ago?
Steve Goldstien: Yes [laughs]
Howard Fischer: I hate it when he remembers things.
Ted Simons: I got -- we've got a minute left here. What was the most surprising story for you this year?
Howard Fischer: In some ways, the Pearce recall. I admit I thought it would be an uphill battle. 25% requirement and then even then, I thought there would be so many different candidates, Russell would walk away with it. I think the fact that he's gone is the most surprising.
Ted Simons: What do you think, Steve?
Steve Goldman: to me, what was Surprising was the up-and-coming Dennis Burke, Democratic star, his political career might be over.
Ted Simons: Alright Doug, most surprising story?
Doug MacEachearn: The quick turnaround in the governor's race following 1070. That was stunning.
Ted Simons: Alright, Good stuff, guys. We'll reconvene next year and let you know how it turns out. Before we go, we want to let you know about some changes for "Horizon" in the new year.
Ted Simons: Be looking for that. That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us! You have a great evening!