Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Money, money, money in California Congressional races

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) isn't facing serious competition in November, so she's using her fundraising prowess to help other Democrats.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the biggest campaign fundraiser in California is Dianne Feinstein, who’s spent more than two decades in the U.S. Senate. According to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, Feinstein has raised more than $8.2 million this season.

Sen. Feinstein's GOP challenger, Elizabeth Emken, has not yet filed her October quarterly fundraising report. But the Center for Responsive Politics says Emken, who’s run a persistent online campaign, has raised less money than some House members: $189,000.

Feinstein has more than $3 million in cash on hand. That's enough to help out fellow Democrats, including a $200,000 check to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Feinstein is still recovering from having her campaign fund cleaned out last year by Kinde Durkee, described as "the Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers." Feinstein doesn't have exact figures for the missing cash, though her FEC statement lists more than $100,000 this quarter.


Election year twist: LA Democrat touting GOP endorsements in House race

In a year when Democrats and Republicans agree on almost nothing, it's strange to see a campaign strategy that has a Democrat touting his Republican support.

But this isn't a normal election year. California's new "top two" election system has Democrats running against Democrats and Republicans running against Republicans in the November general election.

So in the highly competitive San Fernando Valley race pitting veteran House Democrats Brad Sherman and Howard Berman against each other, Berman says he's received the endorsements from a majority of California’s Republican congressional delegation. The list includes David Dreier (who's retiring), Darrell Issa, Mary Bono Mack, Ken Calvert, Jerry Lewis (retiring), Ed Royce, Dan Lungren, Wally Herger (retiring), Elton Gallegly (retiring) and Buck McKeon.   


California's "top two" election creates rare phenomenon: cross party endorsements

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Congressman Howard Berman, left, has won endorsements from two GOP U.S. Senators in his runoff against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman.

California's "top two" primary is rewriting the rules for political endorsements. 

There are several Congressional races in Southern California where voters will choose between two Democrats or two Republicans on the November ballot. That's because the top two finishers in the June primary — regardless of party — face off in the general election.

The most expensive and contentious race is in the San Fernando Valley, where Congressman Howard Berman faces off against fellow Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman. 

Berman has snagged a number of top Democrats as backers: Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Governor Jerry Brown, and two dozen members of California's Congressional delegation. Today, he announced he's got some new endorsements: Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Both are Republicans. 


Sherman camp uses Zev's words to diss his buddy Berman

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The campaign of Rep. Brad Sherman (right) is turning Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's comments against his ally Rep. Howard Berman (left).

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s comments on his own retirement from politics are now being used in the campaign between Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman—thanks to a passive-aggressive statement from the Sherman camp

Yaroslavsky has backed Berman in the election to represent the west San Fernando Valley. Berman and Sherman are locked in a tight race thanks to redistricting, which pushed the two Democrats into the same district. In the June primary, Sherman finished with 42 percent of the vote, while Berman came in second with 32 percent.

Berman was elected to the state Assembly in 1972. He served there until 1983 when he joined the U.S. House of Representatives. That’s 40 years in public office.

Back to Yaroslavsky: he told reporters Thursday that he would not run for mayor of Los Angeles because, “I do believe that four decades is long enough for any citizen to hold elective office, especially in an executive capacity.”