In one of the most expensive congressional races in the country, San Fernando Valley Congressman Brad Sherman has six times the amount of “cash on hand” as Congressman Howard Berman. The most recent Federal Elections Commission report shows Sherman with about $3 million. Berman has about $450,000.
“That presents the Berman campaign with a very daunting fundraising challenge," Sherman campaign strategist Park Skelton said. He also noted that a political action committee supporting Berman has less than $10,000.
Berman consultant Brandon Hall countered that his candidate has the fundraising momentum. He said Berman has raised nearly $3.5 million since the beginning of the election cycle last year, compared to Sherman’s $1.35 million. Berman spent much of that money in the primary campaign, when he finished second behind Sherman 32 percent to 42 percent.
“I am not worried about being able to compete with Brad Sherman in terms of financial resources,” Hall said. He said the campaign has 29 fundraisers planned in the coming weeks.
The two longtime Democrats face each other in a high-profile runoff in November as a result of California’s new open primary system. Under that system, the top two finishers regardless of party advance to the general election. The state’s once-a-decade redistricting process also landed the incumbents in the same congressional district in the western San Fernando Valley to make way for a mostly Latino district in the eastern part of the Valley.
Sunday, the California Democratic Party narrowly declined to endorse either candidate. Berman fell 12 votes short of the necessary 60 percent of delegates. Hall called it a “stunning turnaround” from February, when Sherman won more delegates.
Sherman consultant Skelton argued that Berman’s failure to secure the endorsement would hurt his fundraising.