Incoming Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, (center) chats with outgoing president Sen. Justin Alfond (left) and outgoing majority leader Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash (right), in the Senate chamber in 2013. Alfond is expected to remain the Democratic leader after its caucus elects leaders Wednesday evening. Alfond served in a similar capacity when Republicans won the Senate in 2010.

Democratic lawmakers elected to the 127th Legislature will elect caucus leaders Wednesday, an outcome that could set the tone for the upcoming session. Of particular interest is how Democrats respond to last week’s reelection of Gov. Paul LePage and a Republican wave that nearly resulted in a complete takeover of the State House.

Democrats were able to hold their majority in the House of Representatives, 79-68 (There are also four independents, who have often voted with Democrats). However, Republicans flipped the Senate to obtain a 20-15 majority. Many times a big loss like that can lead to a change in leadership.

At the moment, however, it appears that Democrats are staying (mostly) with the leaders they know. That means Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, is in a good position to become the Democratic minority leader when Senate Democrats hold their election in Hallowell this evening. There had been some rumors that Alfond would face a challenge by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, a longtime Democrat who is viewed as a deal maker and a moderate. However, Diamond said Wednesday that he is not seeking the leadership position, an announcement that may indicate that any move against Alfond simply wouldn’t garner enough votes.

This is stating the obvious to insiders, but Alfond and LePage are hardly chummy. Neither are LePage and Sen. Dawn Hill, D-Caped Neddick, who once silenced the governor when he barged into a special meeting held by the Legislature’s budget-writing committee in 2013. Hill is running for assistant minority leader. If elected, she’d leave the all-important budget committee. The panel is responsible for negotiating the state budget, which more than any other legislative document, embodies the political parties’ priorities. Legislative leaders tend to appoint pragmatists and deal makers to the budget panel because, in divided government it often means that both parties get a little bit of what they want while keeping state government open (the state Constitution requires a balanced budget).

Over in the House of Representatives, it looks like House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, is in a good position to hold the gavel for another two years. One member of his leadership team, however, is facing a challenge. Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, is the assistant majority leader and running for majority leader. So is Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco. Hobbins is another noted deal maker. He also happens to be one of the few Maine Democrats that LePage has ever said anything nice about, at least publicly. Not only did Hobbins help convince the governor to sign a bill that would allow bars to open earlier on St. Patrick’s Day – a bill LePage originally called garbage – he and outgoing Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono, also had a decent working relationship with the governor when House Democrats were in the minority between 2011 and 2012.

Republicans elected their new leaders last week.