LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Influential Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman may face off in the 2012 elections based on an initial draft of California’s new political map.
The Jewish lawmakers, both Democrats, draw their strength from adjoining San Fernando Valley constituencies and live within a few blocks of each other.
Under the proposed draft of new electoral districts released June 10 by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, Berman’s district lines would shift toward the east and Sherman’s toward the west, with changes in constituencies and boundaries that could set up a race between the veteran legislators.
“I don’t see how we can get around a confrontation between these two old friends and allies,” said Richard Mullin, president of a Santa Monica-based public opinion research company.
Berman and Sherman are influential on the national and local political scene. Berman has served in the U.S. Congress for nearly three decades and is a ranking member of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs. Sherman, who also serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, has been a member of Congress since 1997.
Berman’s redrawn district would include a large number of Latino voters. Facing a likely challenge from a Latino candidate, Berman might instead opt to run in Sherman’s district.
In an interview, Sherman said that in his new district he would retain 51 percent of his current constituents and would have 30 percent of voters he represented in his previous district. He said 19 percent would be new constituents.
Berman in a statement said that “It is premature to make an official campaign announcement until district lines are finalized. However, there is no question that I would want to continue representing this community.”
Rep. Henry Waxman also faces changes in his district, which now stretches from Beverly Hills to Malibu, but his base is so solid that he is considered unbeatable.