The House: Berman on Sherman and More Political Fratricide in California

What's more awkward than two belles sharing the same stage in the same dress? Two political candidates from the same party in a knock-down, drag-out fight to the bitter finish in November!

What's more awkward than two belles sharing the same stage in the same dress? Two political candidates from the same party in a knock-down, drag-out fight to the bitter finish in November!

Granted, California was not a swing state in the presidential election. We’re so dominated by Democrats, it’s hard to imagine anybody so much as blinked when Barack Obama won here. And Dianne Feinstein’s next term in the U.S. Senate? Even loyal Republicans were calling that one for her before the ballots were published.

But even in a True Blue state like this one, there was plenty of blood spilled in the California delegation to the House of Representatives. Between the way Congressional districts were redrawn after the last US Census and the state’s new top-two primary system, the stage was set for some high-pitched theater in two Republican districts and six Democratic ones. You might think that Democratic Party leaders would gather in some smoke-filled room somewhere in California and make the decisions required to avoid one party member going up against another. That’s not how it played out.

Exhibit A: The “Battle of the Ermans”

There used to be two liberal Jewish Democratic Congressional Districts nestled against each other in LA County’s San Fernando Valley. And then there was one.

Awwk-ward. Who would step aside?

Would it be Howard Berman, a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee? Or Brad Sherman, less senior but the more familiar face to most of the voters in the new 30th district? The open primary in June was set up to send the top two winners, regardless of party affiliation, into the general election in November.

The battle became one of the most expensive congressional races in the country. Altogether, Politico calculates some $15 million was spent. At the height — or low — of the fight, Berman and Sherman appeared to come close to blows at a local candidate forum. Berman even used the icky moment in a campaign ad.

Remember, there’s about a hair’s worth of difference between these two guys politically. They both supported the Dream Act, for example. They co-sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

“I did not go into politics to run against Howard Berman,” Sherman said last night, rather graciously after his 21-point win. But run against him, he did.

So how did the other same-party Congressional races play out? From the Secretary of State:

• CD 8 – Republicans Paul Cook over Gregg Imus

• CD 15 – Democrats Eric Swalwell over Pete Stark

• CD 31 – Republicans Gary Miller over Bob Dutton

• CD 35 – Democrats Gloria Negrete McLeod over Joe Baca

• CD 40 – Democrats Lucille Roybal-Allard over David Sanchez

• CD 43 – Democrats Maxine Waters over Bob Flores

• CD 44 – Democrats Janice Hahn over Laura Richardson

  • ptownvoter

    I know he’s new, but his name is Eric Swalwell, not Stalwell

    • http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth Lisa Aliferis, KQED

      Apologies for the error. We have corrected it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Var-Enyo/100001058251205 Var Enyo

    Berman was a shill for the big interests of the entertainment industry trying to protect their profits. He and Bono-Mack who was basically in it to protect her Sonny Bono interests both lost.