State Rep. Sandy Pasch, a Democrat from Whitefish Bay, will run against Republican Sen. Alberta Darling in the according to another Milwaukee area Assembly Democrat.
However, Pasch declined to confirm the comment by state Rep. Chris Sinicki, which occurred over the weekend at a labor event in Bay View. Pasch would say only that a formal announcement would come on Thursday.
Sinicki’s comment occurred at a gathering Saturday to commemorate another stressful time in the state’s labor history. Seven labor protesters calling for an eight-hour workday were shot to death on May 1, 1896, as they marched with picket signs.
At the event, Sinicki introduced several Democratic lawmakers to a crowd of about 200 people. When she introduced Pasch, Sinicki said Pasch would be running against Darling.
Organizers of the recall campaign are being coy about their candidate of choice. Kristopher Rowe, a founder of the Darling recall group, said the choice is between Pasch and Sheldon Wasserman, a former member of the Assembly who lost to Darling by about 1,000 votes in 2008.
“Both are strong candidates and we intend to get behind them 100 percent,” Rowe said.
Wasserman, contacted by phone, would not comment on whether Pasch has been tapped to take on Darling in a July recall election.
Asked if he would support Pasch, who won his seat in 2008, Wasserman said: “Whoever runs will have all of our support. The bottom line is that we really need to defeat Alberta Darling.”
Wasserman said earlier that he was considering a rematch but added that the Republican controlled Legislature could easily move him out of the district in the upcoming redistricting that must be completed by 2012. Wasserman lives in most southern portion of the district.
The Darling recall effort was spurred by the series of events leading to the passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill that attracted thousands of protesters to Madison. The legislation easily passed the Assembly but was stymied in the Senate when 14 Democrats fled the state, depriving the Republicans of the two-thirds vote needed to pass a fiscal measure. Republicans amended the measure so a simple majority was required for a late-night vote. Charges that the Republicans violated the Open Meetings Law when they amended the procedure have mired the measure in lawsuits that are still pending.
Whoever runs against Darling will have a formidable battle.
Darling, chairwoman of the Joint Finance Committee and strong proponent of the measure, was one of eight Republicans targeted. The 66-year-old lawmaker has been a legislator for 21 years, all but two years in the Senate. One poll conducted several weeks ago indicated she would easily win.
But the sprawling 8th Senate District is fairly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, as the 2008 race showed.
Darling has also raised nearly $500,000 for the campaign and has mailed several batches of campaign literature.
Rowe noted that the recall effort, which began March 3, attracted hundreds of volunteers and collected more than 30,000 petition signatures, about a one-third more than needed.
The Government Accountability Board, the state agency that must verify the petitions, was granted an extension of the 31 day-certification period because of the unprecedented number of recall efforts. The extension could delay the recall elections that, under normal circumstances, would have been held in mid-July.
“When it comes to boots on the ground and a true grassroots organic movement, we have the upper hand,” Rowe said in an e-mail.