THERE IS no political fight more furious than two former allies facing each other on the ballot.

Brian Sims, a lawyer active in gay-rights issues, served as campaign treasurer for state Rep. Babette Josephs two years ago.

On Tuesday, Sims challenges Josephs in the Democratic primary election for the seat she has held since 1985.

A sample of the campaign literature circulating in the 182nd District's Center City and South Philly neighborhoods in the past week:

Josephs, noting that Sims says he is willing to work with Republicans in the state General Assembly, sent a mailer suggesting that he would support Gov. Corbett on conservative issues such as mandatory ultrasounds before abortions, photo-ID requirements for voting and "drastic cuts to public education."

Sims, who so far has outraised Josephs in campaign cash by 3-to-1, responded with a mailer bringing up a vote Josephs cast against the mandatory registering of sex offenders, which she told the Daily News six years ago provides a "false sense of security" for parents. "If Babette won't fight to protect our children, how can we keep voting for her?" the mailer asks.

Josephs, 71, says her mailer was an attempt to "inject a little humor in the race" while asking if Sims would support those issues.

Sims, 33, says the sex-offender mailer cited her voting record.

Josephs is considered a reliable voice on progressive issues. She shrugs off suggestions that her liberal positions make her ineffective in a Legislature controlled by conservatives. Her liberal stance is what her constituents want, she adds.

Sims says that is not enough.

"I'm much better at policy and legislation than I am at casting aspersions and calling people names," he said.

Josephs complains that Sims has a broad fundraising base, with donations coming from Oregon and California donors who don't know her and her record.

Sims notes that two-thirds of Josephs' fundraising comes in big checks from political-action committees whereas a large chunk of his funding came in donations of $250 or less.

Josephs predicts she will narrow the gap in fundraising by Election Day, explaining the slow start this way: "You have to convince people I'm in danger."