Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank predicted Tuesday in Portland that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will have a decisive victory on Election Day.

The Ogunquit resident also said a win by Clinton will lead to change in the Republican Party that will allow “mainstream” Republicans to regain control of the party from more conservative members.

Frank, a liberal Democrat who spoke Tuesday night at the University of Maine School of Law, said a loss by Republican nominee Donald Trump likely will help Democrats take control of the Senate, where they need to gain five seats to have a majority.

At the end of his talk, which was organized by the University of Southern Maine’s American Constitution Society, Frank was asked by a member of the audience what the headlines will be after the general election Nov. 8.

“Clinton wins decisively,” Frank said without hesitation.

Frank talked about the public’s dissatisfaction with an ineffective Congress and the importance of the next president’s choice of a Supreme Court justice to replace the conservative Antonin Scalia, who died in February at the age of 79.

“We’ve come to a place in politics where we are at the ultimate stalemate,” said professor Danielle Conway, dean of the law school. “We don’t seem to have people in Congress who are doing the real work of Congress.”

Frank reacted by saying, “Yes, we are in a terrible situation now, but the cause is not systemic and will change.”

Frank blamed the “right wingers” and tea party candidates for taking control of the Republican Party about six years ago. He said their unwillingness to work with other lawmakers has led to congressional stalemates, the most prominent one following President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland – chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – to replace Scalia.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has praised Garland’s qualifications, but despite his credentials, Republican Senate leaders have said they will not vote on any potential nominee until a new president has been elected.

Frank predicted that conservative Republicans will lose power after Clinton wins the November election, leading to more mainstream Republicans, such as Collins, taking control of the party.

But Frank said the stakes are high for the Supreme Court. Issues such as protection of minorities, voting rights, immigration and climate change could all be affected depending on which party wins the White House and who is nominated to the court.

“If Donald Trump gets to appoint the next justice, he’ll be another Scalia,” Frank said.

“If you have strong views about the courts, then you should vote for one of the presidential candidates,” said Frank, hinting that a vote for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein would be wasted.

Frank, 76, the first openly gay congressman, served Massachusetts in the House of Representatives for 32 years, until he retired from Congress in 2013. He married his longtime partner, Jim Ready, in 2012, securing a spot in history as the first sitting congressman to legally marry a same-sex partner.

Frank and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, will campaign for Clinton in Portland on Wednesday, according to a news release issued by Clinton’s campaign. Frank and Pingree are scheduled to visit a phone bank at Democratic headquarters, at 622 Congress St. beginning at 5:30 p.m.


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