Democratic state Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay has declared her intention to run against GOP Sen. Alberta Darling in a recall election.
Pasch, who holds the Assembly seat in the 22nd District, filed her papers on Thursday with the state Government Accountability Board.
In an interview Thursday, Pasch said the list of reasons she decided to run is long.
"I see the values that we hold as being in great jeopardy if we do not change course soon," she said. "I talk to school board members and administrators in my district and they are almost in a panic. They have been cutting back for years and more demands are being made. If we really want to grow jobs - and I do - we can't do that by gutting the infrastructure of education."
Darling told Patch Thursday that the election will show the clear difference between her and Pasch.
"I like Sandy. We'll have a very clear difference on what we stand for. Sandy stood very much with Governor (Jim) Doyle on all of his tax increases and the spending that created the $3.6 billion deficit. That will be contrasted with my record of working to get our spending under control so we can grow jobs and the economy," she said.
Darling said she is proud of her fiscal conservative record but added that there is more to her record.
"I'm not just a budget hawk," she said. "Most people who have been around the Capitol know that I have been the major child advocate from the reform of child welfare in Milwaukee to all of the child protection laws, including the Internet predator law."
"It will be a pretty clear choice, and I hope taxpayers will look at my record and send me back to work," she added said.
Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Government Accountability Board, said the board is still reviewing the recall petitions filed late last month against Darling. No date has been set for the special election yet, but Magney said a July 12 date is possible.
“The caveat is that the petitions are sufficient,” Magney said. “It could also be delayed if Senator Darling takes the matter to court.”
The recall drive was prompted by Darling’s support of the budget repair bill promoted by fellow Gov. Scott Walker, a fellow Republican. The bill strips state union workers of most of their collective bargaining rights and was the impetus for the massive demonstrations at the Capitol earlier this year.
Pasch noted that villages and cities are facing a 25 percent increase in the cost of fuel needed for squad cars and garbage trucks, but have to find other places in their budgets to make cuts.
The public employee unions had agreed to pay more for their health care and contribute to their pensions, she said.
"That wasn't enough for Scott Walker," Pasch said. "He wanted more."
Former Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, who was narrowly defeated by Darling in 2008, also expressed interest in running against Darling but has apparently bowed out of the race.
Darling, of River Hills, has raised almost $500,000 for the race, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state.
Pasch, who has been in the Assembly since 2008, said Darling's war chest is intimidating.
"From a catchup point of view, it's intimidating," she said. "But I've already been in a race where I was outspent and came from behind to win."
Darling said the timing of the campaign and recall election could not be worse. As co-chairman of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, most of her time will be spent hammering out the biennial budget that must be completed by June 30.
"I have a strong grassroots campaign organization and they are working hard to get my message out," Darling said.
A recall rally will be held in Cahill Park in Whitefish Bay at 2 p.m. Friday. Both Wasserman and Pasch are expected to attend. Originally, the rally was slated for Thursday, but was delayed because of the possibility of rain.