By Collin Roth
On August 8, Democratic Assembly candidate Harriet Callier dropped out of the race for the 10th District and endorsed fellow Democrat Millie Coby. The move came as a shock with less than a week to go before the primary election, but perhaps more jarring was the statement and allegations made by Callier against Rep. Sandy Pasch and her campaign.
Callier’s statement released on Wednesday read in part:
My experience with PASCH leading up to and during this campaign borders on that of the most hate- filled extremist. Too often I measure life responses by the repressive work of Gov. George Wallace of Alabama. The staged work of PASCH and her supporterswhile more visibly aimed at the community appears to be directly from the pages of Wallaces worst playbook.
The elected 10th District Assemblyperson will have to work closely and diligently with other Northside representation. PASCH has demonstrated that she cannot easily turn from the bitter hate mongering of her campaign to one of civil cooperation with the remaining Legislators. A brief talk with her and you will find that PASCH is still very bitter and vindictive with several Northside issues including her lost to Albert Darling in a previous election. Ultimately, neither side of the 10th District is very likely to receive meaningful support from PASCHonly Democratic Party leaders and Union bosses.
The 10th Assembly District has garnered a great deal of attention due to the wide field of candidates in the race. The new district lines combined both the North Side of Milwaukee with Shorewood. Rep. Sandy Pasch currently represents Shorewood while Rep. Elizabeth Coggs currently represents ares of Milwaukee’s North Side.
Media Trackers reached out to Harriet Callier to ask her to elaborate on her statement blasting Sandy Pasch. Callier explained that the Pasch campaign has been “targeting groups” from the very beginning of the campaign and used condescending language such as “I have always been good to Milwaukee.” Callier explained that this had racial overtones because Pasch had never represented Milwaukee and this was akin to when Southern whites would say “I’ve been good to my coloreds.”
Callier went on to allege that Pasch, along with the Democratic Party and labor union bosses, have “taken advantage and ignored the African-American community in Milwaukee.” Callier explained that despite the fact that nearly all of the Democratic candidates are pro-labor, one labor leader told her that they backed Sandy because “they needed a sure win.”
Callier also mentioned an email that went out of a photo of all the Democratic candidates with the caption “Sandy and the three monkeys.” Callier did not allege that this email was from Pasch or her campaign, but explained that it was pretty clear whom it supported.
The Pasch campaign seemed to respond to the charges by vaguely assailing “Republican special interest groups” for interfering in the race. Millie Coby, whom Callier endorsed, and Elizabeth Coggs have both benefitted from the American Federation of Children, a pro-school choice PAC spending money in a number of Milwaukee Democratic primaries.
So far, none of the organizations or individuals endorsing Pasch have responded to the strong charges of racism by Ms. Callier. Rep. Sandy Pasch currently sits on the Board of Citizen Action of Wisconsin and has been endorsed by Sen. Chris Larson as well as all the major labor unions.