Thanks to a new top-two primary system that ignores party affiliation, Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman will oppose one another in November’s runoff for a new Congressional seat in the San Fernando Valley.
As expected, Berman and Sherman, both Democrats, beat out five other challenges for the Nov. 6 election. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Sherman led with 42.4 percent of the vote, compared to Berman's 32.4 percent.
The other candidates finished at:
In a written statement, Sherman said he has a financial advantage over Berman heading into the November race.
"You are here at a victory party that is a preparation for a victory party in November," Sherman told supporters last night at a party in Encino.
Berman is at a disadvantage as the new district includes more of Sherman's old district. Political insiders believed Berman needed to finish in the 30 percent range to remain a viable fundraiser.
"Our strategy ensured that we would make it through the primary, but we’ve always had our eyes on the prize—winning in November," Berman said in a statement released early this morning. “We always knew this was going to be a tough fight and our campaign will have the resources to take on my opponent and his dismal record.”
The race is the result of redistricting, which reconfigured a district Berman has represented since 1982. Berman is the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee. He is also the second-highest ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Sherman, elected to Congress in 1997, serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Financial Services.
In February, Berman told KPCC he sees himself as the pragmatic candidate: "I'm focused on trying to get things accomplished in Washington. I'm less interested in self-promotion. If you want something to happen to help the Valley, to help Los Angeles, I'm the guy you want to go to."
Sherman, however, had accused his opponent of being out of touch with Valley voters, as parts of Berman's previous district included the Hollywood Hills. The new 30th District includes half of Sherman's current district.
"He is a distinguished, very senior member of Congress and I respect him as an individual. It's just on issue after issue his stances don't reflect Valley values," Sherman told KPCC's Frank Stoltze.
Sherman's supporters include former President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.