July 12 marks beginning of the fight for Darling's Senate seat

June 29, 2011

The fight for Wisconsin's 8th Senate District begins July 12 without the state's incumbent Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, on the ballot.

The recall primary election features Democratic Assemblywoman Sandy Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, facing off against Republican protest candidate Gladys Huber.

Neither Pasch nor Huber accepted NOW's request to answer questions on issues facing the district, and Huber in particular has been evasive with most major media outlets regarding interview requests.

Huber's candidacy is viewed as being part of a state-wide effort aimed at giving legislators facing a recall more time to do their jobs as legislators, particularly regarding the budget.

This strategy has been openly endorsed by Republican leadership and widely criticized by Democrats.

Darling remains busy

Darling, for her part, has continued to be active in presenting legislation, recently speaking to reporters in Menomonee Falls about her new bill to push for tighter regulations and firmer punishments on public assistance fraud.

While Darling continues to do her legislative duties, the bill for the primaries falls in the laps of municipalities in the district. A NOW investigation found more than $36,000 will be spent on the two recall elections between Menomonee Falls and Germantown, and some of those costs are projected above the normal cost of elections given the high turnout expected.

One clerk said she expects as many as 80 percent of voters to come to the polls, and extra staffing will be required to handle the demand.

Menomonee Falls said it will cost the village $11,000 per election, and that is even with only partial constituency in the 8th Senate District. Wards 27 and 24 will not vote in the recall election because they are not in Darling's district.

Faces of the races

Darling will face the winner of the July 12 primary Aug. 9. Darling's race with Rep. Sheldon Wasserman in 2008 was decided by just a few thousand votes, and some expected Wasserman, D-Shorewood, to run in the recall election.

Pasch, from nearby Whitefish Bay, is from one of the more historically liberal parts of the politically diverse district.

Darling has been a state senator for the 8th District since 1993.

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