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.
UPDATE: MILWAUKEE COUNTY REDISTRICTING
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.
NEW VILLAGE MANAGER
Pat DeGrave 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.