The redistricting-induced, intra-party brawl between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman has been an ugly one – and is likely to only get more heated as Election Day draws closer.
Berman, the more senior of the two Jewish California Democratic congressmen, has an uphill race ahead of him, after being beaten by Sherman in their June primary by a sizable margin. (Since they were the top two voter getters, under California’s open primary system, the two are having a general election rematch.)
From the get-go, Sherman has been on the offensive against Berman. And now Berman is, as the Los Angeles Times puts it, “taking off the gloves.”
The Times reports:
After decades of cruising effortlessly to reelection, dignified, statesmanlike and unruffled, Rep. Howard Berman has come out swinging against fellow San Fernando Valley Democrat and congressional colleague Brad Sherman in the fight over which man gets to stay in Congress.
First came a website knocking Sherman’s record: Just three bills passed in 15 years, two of them to rename post offices, it declared. Then Berman rounded up a seasoned Washington hand to pile on, telling reporters last week that Sherman had indulged in "fantasies" about his role in reforming the nation’s troubled financial institutions (nonsense, said Sherman’s campaign; his role was well documented).
Berman has even moved aside his brother Michael, his longtime strategist, in favor of a younger consultant with recent, hard-fought victories under his belt.
With no Republican left in the race, Republican voters could be key to the outcome in the heavily Democratic district, and both candidates are trying to appeal to them, enlisting friendly GOPers in support of their respective candidacies.
The local San Fernando Valley Republican Club though isn’t playing favorites, voting not to endorse either candidate, the L.A. Jewish Journal reported, even as it “commends both Cong. Berman and Cong. Sherman on their strong support for Israel.”
Back in June, there was an interesting analysis of how various subgroups voted in the primary. (Jews apparently went strongly for Berman, but Sherman won Latinos decisively.)