Tag: Howard Berman

Oct 07 2011

CA-30: Democrats Showing Angst over Berman – Sherman Clash

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Democrat Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman

It could not have happened to two nicer Congressman – that is they were redistricted into the same Congressional district.

Rep. Howard Berman hasn’t had to fight for a job since Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern and M*A*S*H made its television debut.

That was 1972, when he won a state Assembly seat in his first race. Now the 70-year-old Democrat and House veteran, one of California’s most enduring politicians, is girding for a potentially bruising battle with a congressional colleague.

New voting maps, drawn for the first time by a citizens commission instead of behind closed doors by self-interested lawmakers, melded Berman’s San Fernando Valley district with that of Rep. Brad Sherman, 56, also a Democrat. Neither is yielding the ground, to the consternation of party leaders.

“It’s never healthy when you have two Democratic congressmen running against each other,” said state Democratic Party chief John L. Burton, a former state lawmaker and congressman.

The intraparty fight will siphon resources that could be used to defend vulnerable Democratic seats or capture marginally Republican ones, he said.

Well, Brad Sherman could move to Thousand Oaks and take on GOP Rep. Elton Gallegly in CA-26. But, the CA-26 would involve general election risk.

Neither man has an attractive choice outside the new 30th District. Neighboring districts, one more Republican and the other largely Latino, don’t fit either lawmaker nearly as well as the mostly white, liberal one they both live in (Berman resides in Valley Village, Sherman in Sherman Oaks).

“This is going to be a very hard-fought campaign, and I don’t see either candidate blinking,” said Allan Hoffenblum, a former Republican consultant who publishes the nonpartisan California Target Book assessing state races.

As, I said, it gives me great joy to see a costly Democratic Primary election in the California top two environment, knowing that one of these long-time left-wing Democrat Congressmen will be retired in 2012.

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Sep 30 2011

CA-30: GOP Join the Clash of the Titans Rep Howard Berman Vs. Rep. Brad Sherman

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California Congressional District 30

It couldn’t be a simple Dem on Dem fight, now could it?

Many observers expected the fight between Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman for a newly drawn San Fernando Valley congressional seat would become one of the costliest House races in the nation next year, and it already has generated plenty of attention with handicappers speculating on which of the two will  prevail.

Not so fast, say the two Republicans in the race, novelist Susan Shelley and actor, rancher and businessman Mark Reed.

Shelley believes her moderate views on social issues — she’s pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage — will appeal to those who want an alternative to both incumbents. Reed, who ran against Sherman in 2010, describes himself as “an advocate for constitutional government as specified by our founding fathers.” 

Politics-watchers deem it pretty unlikely that a Republican could win in this strongly Democratic district but acknowledge that some big changes — including the recent redrawing of districts and the state’s new “top two” primary system — will add unpredictable wrinkles in 2012.

The November runoff will be between the top two vote getters in the June primary, even if they are from the same party.  Most expect that will be Berman and Sherman, but one of those seasoned congressmen will be locked out of the fall contest if a Republican manages to come in second in June.

A Republican will come in second unless a recent court challenge throws the new Congressional Districts out. The top two system will likely hurt the Democrats much more than the GOP in California.

How ironic since the GOP opposed the anti-party primary system which California voters adopted.

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Sep 20 2011

CA-30: Howard Berman Vs. Brad Sherman – Two Jews, One District

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California Congressional District 30

This epic Clash of the Titans now has its own blog over at the Jewish Journal.

Now, that the Republican sponsored Congressional District referendum appears to be DEAD, this race should either heat up or Rep. Brad Sherman starts doing events in CA-24 (for a possible race against Rep. Elton Gallegly).

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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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Aug 23 2011

CA-30 Poll Watch: Rep. Brad Sherman Leading Rep. Howard Berman

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Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Howard Berman

In a clash of Democratic San Fernando Valley titans.

But in the new poll done for Sherman’s campaign, he led a three-way “jungle” primary against Berman and Republican businessman Mark Reed with 42 percent, followed by Reed with 26 percent and Berman with 17 percent. In a ballot test of a two-way runoff with Berman in the solidly Democratic district, Sherman got 51 percent to 24 percent for Berman.

Under California’s new law, the top two finishers in the June primary, regardless of party, face each other in a November runoff. There are expected to be several intraparty, general election races next fall.

The poll, conducted by the Feldman Group, was taken of 600 likely voters in the district Aug. 14-18. It carried a 4-point margin of error on the general election ballot and 5-point margin of error on the primary ballot.

A polling memo from pollster Diane Feldman stated that Berman’s “lower profile” in the area, along with Sherman’s higher favorability numbers, explain Sherman’s strong early edge.

“Sherman is simply better known and more popular in this San Fernando Valley district and voters want his visible, local style of representation,” Feldman wrote in the memo.

And, the purpose of the poll is to scare Berman out of the race because the top two will move forward to the general election.

Sherman is better known in the Valley but Berman is a shrewd campaigner and will have a ton of money to throw at the race. The only impediment is the Republican candidate who is likely to siphon off enough votes to come in second regardless of the fact that he will have no hope of winning this primarily Democratic CD.

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