Berman vs. Sherman: Another clash in hottest race for Congress

Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman.
Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman.
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Expect sparks in Tarzana on Tuesday as Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman face off in the hottest Congressional race in the country.

They are Democratic incumbents seeking the same congressional seat. Why? Because the state’s redistricting commission drew new political boundaries that crammed Berman and Sherman into the same district that stretches from Malibu to Beverly Hills and into parts of the San Fernando Valley.

Complicating the race: Both are influential Jewish politicians whose constituencies overlap. Berman and Sherman agree on many issues. They also differ on a few, like free trade. Sherman is a stronger critic, as he demonstrated in the last debate.

“Free trade deal after free trade deal with countries that use unfair trade practices and we have an 800 billion dollar trade deficit year after year after year “ Sherman said.

“Do people in this room really think that America should put up its walls and stop trade. The way out of our crisis in the economy is to export," Berman said.

This congressional contest could be the most expensive in the country. Sherman’s already raised more than $3.5 million. Berman’s got just under $3 million.

The two may do battle twice, in June and again in November. Under California’s new open primary system, candidates from any party who garner more than 50 percent of the vote in the June primary win the seat outright. No longer do Republicans and Democrats automatically face off in November. In this contest, a Republican in the mostly Democratic district may siphon off enough votes to force a runoff between Berman and Sherman.