Sep 12 2011

CA-30: Clash of the Titans – Howard Berman Vs. Brad Sherman

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California Congressional District 30

This will be a monstrous battle between veteran and long time Democratic Congressman Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, providing one does not blink and move to a neighboring district, like the one in Ventura County CA-26.

Here is the demographic breakdown for CA-26.

Rep. Brad Sherman has represented Thousand oaks in the past and the demographics which are not as blatantly gerrymandered in Democratic registration is competitive for him. But, the incumbent in this district who now lives just outside CA-26 is Rep. Elton Gallegly and he has NOT announced his intentions – either to run in CA-26, run against GOP Rep. Buck McKeon in his new home district (Simi Valley) or retire.

Plus, there is a referendum petition circulating since Friday and this could throw all of the new California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission Congressional Districts out. What a headache, if you are an incumbent POL.

In any case, Scott Lay has this excellent analysis of this Berman Vs. Sherman top two battle in CA-30, if the election were to be held tomorrow.

Currently, CD30 is a three-way race with Berman, Sherman and actor-businessman Mark Reed. Now, with full respect to Mark Reed, the voter performance in this district would require an October surprise against a Dem to win. In this world, however, anything is possible (such as a Republican winning NY-9 next Tuesday). The goal is to survive and have a chance to be on the ballot in November.

Now, for Berman and Sherman, their goal should be to keep Reed in the race and to knock the other off in June.  After setting aside Mark Reed’s nearly guaranteed 29%, there is 71% up for grabs.  It’s probably more like 67%, as John McCain received 33% in CD30 in 2008. Therefore, if Berman and Sherman are equally popular, we probably have a pie divided up three ways. 

If I am Berman or Sherman, I would be focused on making nice with Reed, and going for the jugular of the other -erman. While it’s hard to see the candidates doing this overtly, it certainly could draw the attention of a SuperPAC looking to curry favor with a certain member of Congress. Again, we’re talking about the difference between French Vanilla and Vanilla Bean, but individuals do matter in the ranking committee system of Congress.

For Berman, it’s the recording industry–a huge player in the district, in Washington, and specifically in House Judiciary (where Berman is the #2 Dem). For Sherman, the interests are less identifiable as his committees are not juice. However there is a growing push for intellectual property reform from wealthy leaders in Silicon Valley, who might be persuaded Berman is too close to Hollywood and who could write some big checks.

Here is the demographic map for CA-30:

My bet is that Rep. Brad Sherman moves to CA-26 when Rep. Gallegly decides to retire – at the last minute. Then, the race may be between Republican California State Senator Tony Strickland, Republican Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks and Democrat Rep. Sherman.

In a three way race, Sherman could finish third there too.

Stay tuned…..

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