• WisPolitics

Sunday, August 7, 2011

 11:02 PM 

Darling, Pasch make final push to get out the vote

With just two days left in the 8th Senate District recall race, both candidates are doing everything they can to pull out a victory on Tuesday.

Incumbent Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and challenger Sandy Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, are focusing on their get-out-the-vote campaigns, knocking on doors and keeping volunteers motivated. Both campaigns thought there would be many undecided voters left and felt turnout would hold the key.

Darling spent part of Sunday knocking on doors in the Mequon area, then stopped by the Ozaukee County Fair. In the evening, she returned to campaign headquarters to thank Election Day volunteers and on Monday, she will be canvassing in the Menomonee Falls area.

Pasch spent the morning at churches in the district. In the afternoon she came to her headquarters in Glendale to speak to volunteers, afterward, she went out to knock on doors too.

“I’m feeling really good, really positive,” Pasch said in an interview with WisPolitics, adding that she’s seen a surge in polling that gives her confidence. “We just feel the momentum is on our side and we’re going to be successful on Tuesday.”

Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who noted the campaign has had large volunteer turnout, joined Pasch. Falk was impressed with the 200 volunteers who worked at the Glendale office on Saturday and said she was impressed at the turnout on Sunday as well. Initially, Falk said she thought support might wane as summer wore on and vacations and other distractions took over.

“People have changed their lives,” Falk told WisPolitics.

Falk said the recall is a referendum on both Darling and Gov. Scott Walker.

“It’s one and the same,” said Falk. “She voted lockstep with him on his agenda.”

Darling campaign manager Andrew Davis said their campaign is also feeling good.

“We’re confident but we’re cautiously optimistic,” Davis told WisPolitics. “We know that it’s a mid- summer race and turnout is everything. We know that we need all of our supporters to get to the polls and vote, if they don’t go, it would be, you know, a little difficult to win.”

Both Pasch and Davis acknowledged third-party groups have played a large role in the race.

“I know that they’re out there,” said Pasch. “I know that the airwaves are full of incredible stuff, lots of junk, I actually stopped watching TV a few weeks ago and I rely on my parents to fill me in on the latest bad thing I’ve done apparently.”

Davis said regardless of what third-party groups do, the most important thing is to make sure the Darling campaign’s message is conveyed clearly.

“What matters the most is our campaign's message,” Davis said. “On the ground, you know on the streets in the district, driving it home. Letting them know what Alberta has done and is trying to do.”

Both campaigns acknowledged the short time frame and the Legislature’s work on the budget during the race made the campaign challenging. Davis said the Darling campaign has tried to combat the short time frame by setting up offices across the district.

“Alberta hasn’t shied away from saying that, Mike Tate, chairman of the DPW, and some of the other special interests, unions, that are here playing in this campaign, they’ve targeted her,” said Davis. “She’s got a huge target on her back, its ‘cause she is the budget chair, and it’s something she knew was coming and we were ready to kinda of take on and that’s why we started so early with such an aggressive grassroots program.”

Pasch said Darling does have a target because of her position on the Joint Finance Committee and she acknowledged the 8th District may be one of the key races in the recall.

“Just the symbolism of taking out a 20-year incumbent who has been Walker’s representative on Joint Finance, pretty much doing whatever he wants,” said Pasch.

Asked if improved jobs numbers in June vindicated the Walker admiration’s policies, Pasch responded, “no, because five other states created more jobs than Wisconsin.” She added many of the jobs were temporary and said the state needs to create “family supporting” jobs.

Davis said the creation of private-sector jobs speaks for itself, whether they want to acknowledge that number or not.”

He added: “Sandy Pasch and the DPW and any other Democrat, they have criticisms of that number, but that number is there for anyone to look at.”

Davis said he gains some confidence from the lack of attention on collective bargaining in the campaign.

“When these recalls were started for a single issue, to not be talking about that issue any more, it’s a little reassuring,” Davis said.

He did say that Darling would prefer the elections to be six months from now.

“People would realize when they go back to school that the class size hasn’t been inflated and they still have their same teachers,” said Davis. “These reforms and some of the measures that they took in this budget ... are working and it's helping and it's protecting them and putting or keeping more money in their pocket rather than handing it over to the government.”

-- By Arthur W. Thomas
For WisPolitics.com


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