With a convincing victory in the 2nd Congressional District, a new majority in the state Senate, gains in the House and a robust victory for Gov. LePage, Maine Republicans are feeling bullish and empowered. Rightfully so.

But with any dominating electoral performance, there’s a risk that the victors assume a broader mandate than actually exists and, in their exuberance, overreach.

Maine Republicans appear ready to fall into that trap, enthusiastically assuming their legislative gains and the governor’s 4.9 percent victory represent a sweeping voter fiat.

They don’t. Instead, they reflect a plurality of voters finding greater commonality with Republican’s campaign-trail policy agenda than the Democrats’ uninspired platform and bland gubernatorial standard bearer.

It’s an open question, then, whether Republicans will moderate and constructively govern or give reign to their deeper ideological inclinations and more extreme partisan factions.

For his part, Gov. LePage has never been disposed toward cooperation or negotiation, even with members of his own party. And without any moderating influence of re-election, as well as an increasingly acquiescent Republican legislative caucus, there’s every reason to believe the governor will feel more emboldened than ever.

So for the governor and his champions at organizations like the Maine Heritage Policy Center, this is the go-big-or-go-home legislative session; their best chance to push through an aggressive conservative agenda buoyed by the presumption of a sweeping voter mandate.

As a result, one can easily imagine a session marked by deep partisanship, strong ideological divisions and fierce policy debates, even if chastened Democrats are inclined toward compromise and deal making.

But it’s easy to imagine new policy proposals will mirror a nationalized Republican agenda that extends beyond the core economic policies that Maine Republicans championed on the campaign trail.

One example is Common Core, a set of academic standards developed by state governors and school chiefs that provide a framework for the “core” competencies and knowledge that each student should possess in English and math by the end of each grade.

Nationally, Common Core has evolved into something of a cause celebre for conservative Republican activists, and it’s likely legislation will be introduced in Maine – with the tacit or overt support of the governor – to repeal or “pause” Maine’s participation in the standards.

Interestingly, Maine’s embrace of Common Core was codified under Gov. LePage and the Republican-controlled 125th Legislature. So how and when this legislation emerges, and who surfaces as its champion, may reveal the political machinations driving the effort.

Another national Republican policy priority is enacting so-called right-to-work legislation, which prohibits the collection of union dues as a condition of employment even though all employees continue to benefit from the union’s collective bargaining and negotiated benefits.

Fundamentally, right-to-work legislation is about weakening unions, no matter the policy trappings Republicans attach to it.

In Maine, union membership stands at roughly 12 percent of wage and salaried workers. Right-to-work affects so few employees and employers that the 125th Legislature (the same that enshrined Common Core) failed to enact it. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce, representing some of the state’s largest employers, tellingly took no position on it.

Fundamentally, right-to-work and Common Core aren’t mainstream issues even for Maine Republicans, so their introduction in Maine, just as in other states, signals the influence and efforts of national conservative interests.

The question for Maine Republican leaders, then, is whether they’ll cleave to their own core campaign-trail economic policies – and likely succeed in enacting significant pieces of that agenda – or indulge in peripheral, divisive issues that could upend a session already poised for conflict.

One approach shows a mature Republican leadership strategically governing for the long term – with the intention of retaking the House in 2016 – while the other shows a party shortsightedly consumed by its own electoral exuberance, inviting a 2012-style legislative leadership flip.

If Republican leaders succeed in enforcing a measure of common sense and moderation in the next four years – and if rumors of a Susan Collins gubernatorial run materialize for 2018 – it’s easy to imagine 16 years of unbroken Republican dominance in Maine.

What Republicans accomplish in this session – and how they comport themselves – will either set the stage for a new Republican era or another swift electoral comeuppance.

Michael Cuzzi is a former campaign aide to President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and former U.S. Rep. Tom Allen. He manages the Boston and Portland offices of VOX Global, a strategic communications and public affairs firm headquartered in Washington. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @CuzziMJ