Congressman Brad Sherman swings his arm around Congressman Howard Berman during a debate Thursday night in the San Fernando Valley.
The race for California’s newly-drawn 30th congressional district is shaping up to be one of the most contentious – and expensive - in the country.
Democratic incumbents Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, who represent the 27th and 28th districts respectively, were thrown into the ring together thanks to redistricting and California’s “top two” primary system. The new district is made up half from Sherman’s old district and a quarter from Berman’s; the remaining 25% comes from the old 30th district. The two candidates, both Jewish, have similar voting records but differ on issues such as the economy, immigration and higher education.
In the long and heated race, both candidates have taken figurative swings at at each other – Sherman accused Berman of overpaying his brother for political consulting, while Berman charged Sherman with profiting from interest charged to his own campaign accounts. But last week, in a debate held at Pierce College, things literally got physical: after Berman accused his opponent of being “either delusional or a liar,” Sherman approached Berman, put an arm around him and shouted, “You wanna get into this?” while a police guard hovered nearby.
The incident captured national attention after a video was released by Berman’s campaign. Both candidates later released statements expressing regret over their actions, characterizing the race as “emotional.”
With only a few weeks left to go, will they be able to keep things civil? How will these two impress their new constituents? Who will emerge to represent the 30th district?
Howard Berman, congressman (D-28); the 28th district includes Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City, Van Nuys, North Hollywood
Brad Sherman, congressman (D-27)