Darling, Pasch Election Will Be Tougher Than Expected

Darling is the favorite in the July recall election, but pinning down the political affiliation of the district, particularly Whitefish Bay, is difficult business.

It's official, Sen. Alberta Darling will face current Rep. Sandy Pasch in a recall election expected to be held July 12th.

Anyone who thinks either candidate will have an easy victory has...irrational exuberance. This will be a tight, tough race. In 2008, Darling beat Rep. Sheldon Wasserman by a slim margin, even though 2008 was a great year for Democrats. 

I heard a talk radio squawker suggest Pasch was an easy candidate to face. I don't believe that. Her 2008 Democratic primary race was against a squad of very solid candidates, including one who outspent her by a factor of two. Pasch won't be outworked by Darling, and Pasch will have a sizable army of volunteers.

Who will outspend whom is also a murky question, but one thing is certain: a truckload of money from outside the district will be spent on this race. With only 8 weeks to campaign, neither side will want for money.

I'm not sure hard work or money will make the difference. This election will be touted as another "referendum on Gov. Walker" and the die is well cast on that question.

Traditional thinking suggests that whoever gets their "side" out to vote in this odd, July election will win. Truth is, the 8th Senate District is chock full of high-voter turnout villages, and the race will not be decided by a small pool of voters. There aren't any unique "highly motivated voters" in Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, Mequon, Germantown or Menomonee Falls. All of them are.

If I had to guess today, I'd say Darling wins by a slim margin. While Republicans have been sweating these past few months, the close Supreme Court race of Prosser/Kloppenburg shows the state didn't have an insurmountable shift to the left. 

Whitefish Bay, back in November 2010, went Democratic with Tom Barrett beating Scott Walker by 3 points, and Russ Feingold beating Ron Johnson by a point.  Fast forward to the Prosser/Kloppenburg race, and Whitefish Bay went for Prosser by six points with a 63 percent turnout, which is huge for an April election. 

Does Prosser winning Whitefish Bay by six points mean the village has flipped Republican and supports Walker now? Pasch won her hometown Whitefish Bay by eight points in November. Will that spread hold? Stay tuned.


A short update on my last blog. County Supervisor Joe Rice explained that the reports of his (political) demise were, as they say, greatly exaggerated. Well, semi-exaggerated. The redistricting plan passed by the County Board was tentative.  A future public hearing will be held, and the County Board will need to adopt it once more.

Whether the redistricting plan will change is anyone's guess. It was interesting that the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC) made up of all the municipalities roundly criticized the plan, and said they would come up with their own redistricting map.


took over as Whitefish Bay's new Village Manager. I got to spend some time with him last week, and frankly, I'm excited he's working for us. I think villagers will see and feel a very positive difference in how Village Hall works and communicates in 2011.

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Craig May 13, 2011 at 12:12 PM
I got to know Pat DeGrave when he was at the City of Oak Creek. Pat will be a tremendous asset to WFB.
IndependentBadger May 14, 2011 at 02:26 AM
We need to replace Darling with someone who has more backbone than naked ambition. Darling ran as a center-right candidate when she was new, and then moved so radically to the right (in exchange for powerful appointments) that it's hard to recognize her anymore. Anyone who is corrupt enough to agree with Scott Walker on anything besides the weather, doesn't deserve to be dogcatcher anyways. The way the GOP screwed up Wisconsin, we could use a good nurse at the helm, lol...
chris May 14, 2011 at 03:13 AM
Daring is the favorite? Where do you come up with that? Recall elections aren't exactly commonplace, and it is arrogant to assume you know who will win if you shoot from the hip. Then again, maybe you are right. I guess there are a lot of people in the north shore who think it is OK to disenfranchise voters, limit the role of the DNR in protecting our waterways, air and soil, give payday lenders more power, go after teachers and public servants, strip all the social safety nets, and treat the city like it has a parasitic relationship to the precious suburb.
Kevin Buckley May 14, 2011 at 03:24 AM
"Daring is the favorite? Where do you come up with that?" I based it on the results that Darling beat Wasserman in 2008, a good year for Democrats. I based it on the April Prosser/Kloppenburg race, where Prosser won the 8th Senate District by 32 points. If you read what I said, my exact words were "If I had to guess today, I'd say Darling wins by a slim margin." That's arrogant? That's nothing in comparison to the assumptions you just made about people in the North Shore.
tbs May 22, 2011 at 01:35 PM
Go DARLING go!!! I am absolutely fed up with the arrogance and disregard for the spending of taxpayers money. The supposed "peaceful" demonstrations cost the state millions of dollars. The leaving of the state, the recalls and the recounts...it is truly an embarrassment. And now many of the school districts that are implementing the Walker's budget tools are finding out that yes maybe they can balance their budgets without having to fire teachers and cut programs. But places like MPS that rammed through budgets are having to slash and burn. What our state needs is a healthy economy and jobs in the private sector, so we can pay for jobs in the public sector. It's economics 101. It's time for liberals to start thinking about the sacrifice we ALL are making and step up to the plate and be team players to solve this economic crisis.


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