Here’s my daring prediction for the 2018 Maine gubernatorial election: Someone with five letters in their last name is going to win.

Yes, you heard it here first. Someone with a five-letter surname will replace the six-letter governor – some may use a four-letter word to describe him – we have now.

I’d also like to go a bit further with my set of numerically based predictions. Since all the candidates for Maine governor have five letters in their last name, I predict Shawn Moody, who has five letters in both his first and last names, will take it.

Yes, this election is all about the number five. Janet Mills, Terry Hayes and Alan Caron (how did he get in this race with such a consonant-deficient first name?) have five-letter last names, but who’s counting. This election is Shawn Moody’s to lose, and here are five legitimate reasons why.

First off, Moody is real. We are in a political era where people are tired of fake sophisticates and want real people representing them. Just as we want a jury of our peers judging our fate in a courtroom, we want leadership of our peers in our localities, Augusta and Washington.

Fortunately, this election features four down-to-earth candidates. I watched WCSH’s gubernatorial debate last week and thought each were good ol’ Mainers who wanted the best for all voters – even Mills who’s a Democrat and, as such, reflexively defaults to spending our tax dollars to solve any and all problems. However, Moody stood out as a thoughtful problem-solver who believes people can take care of themselves, as opposed to the government. I applaud politicians with that mindset.

Secondly, Moody has political experience. When he ran for governor in 2010, he got a lot of support despite a lack of experience. Now, almost a decade later, he’s wise to the ways of the political world, having served in several official capacities, which is evident in his demeanor and debate performance.

Thirdly, Moody is independent. Mainers like an independent streak. While I’m a true-blue conservative and side with Republican candidates in every election, I know many Mainers are proud to call themselves independents. As such, they will identify with Moody, who ran as an independent in 2010. Moody is still independent, though, with a lower case “i.” The home page of Moody’s campaign website says simply that Moody is “Of the people, FOR the people.” He’s not for his party; he’s for the people.

His website goes on to say: “Shawn is known as an independent voice from the political class in Augusta and Washington which sometimes puts lobbyists and special interests in front of the people. His commitment has always been to the Maine people first.”

I like that statement because it is exactly what we hard-working Mainers want. We want someone who’s for us, not lobbyists or special interests who co-opt and manipulate the executive and legislative branches as well as the referendum process to do their bidding. Moody will stand up to these forces, and do it with a smile. (Gov. LePage stood up to outside interests as well, but he did it with a combative frown that won him few friends and ultimately damaged his chances to do even more good for Mainers.)

Fourthly, Moody is a fiscal conservative, which is always the bottom line for me. Hear him say it: “Any state spending must be smart and prudent. The people of Maine must be assured they are getting a dollar’s return for every dollar spent. We must root out waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars wherever it is found.”

That sentiment does my heart good. Yes, we are in a great economic expansion. But in these fat years we can’t elect someone who’ll open the spending floodgates all the while saying we need to invest in our future, as if spending needlessly is a wise thing to do anytime. We need someone who’s prudent all the time, no matter the economic climate. Moody is that person.

Lastly, Moody is a successful businessman who treats his employees with respect. He’s just a good guy and you can tell he doesn’t ascribe motive (as LePage has done famously for eight years) and that he trusts people to do the right thing.

Most impressive is that Moody has converted his business, Moody Collision Centers, into an employee-owned enterprise. He turned his hard-built company over to others because he knows an invested employee is a motivated employee.

Moody thinks of Maine voters as he does his employees. He’s simply a caretaker, but he knows Maine is really ours, not his, and he won’t abuse his position. How can you not vote for someone like that?

John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.