From the Los Angeles Times:
During her son’s graduation in May from Bowdoin College, Sandy Pasch listened as filmmaker Mira Nair urged students to get involved in society, citing the impact of citizen uprisings around the world.
“I thought, ‘Wow. I don’t know that everyone sees us in the same light as Egypt and Libya, but there’s something happening here,’ ” she said. “There’s something happening, and the common refrain I hear is that people want to take their state back.”
Pasch, 57, who for three years has represented Milwaukee’s northern suburbs in the state Assembly, is among six Democrats challenging Republican state senators in special recall elections Tuesday.
Last month, a Democratic incumbent survived a recall. On Tuesday, the incumbent Republicans need to win at least four of the six contests to prevent Democrats from retaking a majority in the Senate and reversing the outcome of last fall’s elections, which gave the GOP control of state government.
If Democrats regain the Senate, they could slow but not reverse the GOP changes. More important, it would set up a possible attempt next year to recall Walker, who by law cannot be challenged until he has spent a year in office.
The campaigns have become test battles for 2012’s presidential and congressional elections, and special interest, business, labor and political groups are contributing millions of dollars.
“The stakes are high,” said state Sen. Alberta Darling, 67, of River Hills, the Republican Pasch is facing. “This is about the 2012 election. It is about Obama. And most of all, it is about the future of our country. Are we going to grow in the United States? Are we going to have entrepreneurs? Are we going to have freedom of opportunity? Or, are we going to have a socialistic state?”
“We really see this as an important victory for women across this country,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, which backs Democratic women seeking public office. “It really, for us, highlights the importance of these races as we move into ’12.”
It’s already been a bizarre political year in Wisconsin. In February and March, the state Capitol in Madison was racked by large-scale protests from labor supporters. Democratic senators, meanwhile, fled across the state line to Rockford, Ill., in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the GOP from cutting the budget and curbing collective bargaining rights for public employees.
In the 8th Senate District, where Pasch is challenging Darling, the contest is of keen interest. Darling, a 21-year legislator, is co-chair of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, which imposed severe budget cuts.
Pasch maintains that Darling and Walker have pushed through, “in a very rapid way, an extreme agenda, undoing years of Wisconsin history in a very short time.” Darling, she said, had been viewed as a moderate Republican early in her career but “she has been sliding to the right and I don’t think she can go further right.”
Darling counters that Pasch and her union supporters are trying to “flip” the results of last November’s election, which the GOP interpreted as a demand by voters to eliminate the state’s budget deficit and rein in spending.