Berman Beats Sherman in Endorsement Race

Wins Congressional Support in Tight Battle of California Jews

By Forward Staff

Published November 21, 2011.
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U.S. Rep. Howard Berman has lined up support from Democratic colleagues in the increasingly heated Los Angeles race with fellow Jewish Rep. Brad Sherman.

Rep. Brad Sherman
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Rep. Brad Sherman

Berman has the backing of nearly two-thirds of California’s Democratic congressional delegation, Politico reported. The web site said the 22 endorsements run the spectrum from ultra-liberals like Rep. Maxine Waters to moderates like Reps. Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has not endorsed either candidate in the June primary race. The two incumbents are pitted in a cage match after redistricting eliminated a seat in the heavily Jewish area.

Reps. George Miller and Xavier Becerra, two of her Pelosi lieutenants, are among those announcing for Berman. He also has the support of Rep. Henry Waxman, the dean of the delegation.

The Hill, a Capitol Hill political blog, put the tally of fellow California Dems at 23-2 in Berman’s favor.

Rep. Howard Berman
getty images
Rep. Howard Berman

“Our colleagues work day in and day out with Brad and me; they see firsthand our work on behalf of California,” Berman crowed in a statement. “This endorsement is evidence that when it comes getting things accomplished, I’m more than just another vote or just another voice — I deliver.”

Sherman’s campaign pushed back, arguing support from political heavyweights outside the district would not affect the outcome of the race. He has framed himself as a more down-to-earth Jewish voice while portraying Berman as a mouthpiece for more liberal elites.

There is little independent polling data about the race although Berman conceded that Sherman was the front-runner last summer.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported Sherman picked up the support of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.

Sherman won a 62% vote of support from the group, which represents 27 Democratic clubs in the San Fernando Valley, the suburban heartland of the district, the paper said.

“Brad has over 350 endorsers, most of whom are in the district, including the San Fernando Democratic Party,” Sherman spokesman Ben Fishel told The Hill. “While people outside the Valley endorse others Brad is actually enjoying the support of people who are in the Valley.”

Sherman last summer released a list of more than 120 endorsements from national and local political and community leaders, headlined by Bill Clinton, and including Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), and LA County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Sherman has also sought to portray himself as more pro-Israel, calling himself an “AIPAC guy” type as opposed to the more liberal J Street.

Berman raised $1.6 million at a fundraiser earlier this month, and was expecting more cash from super PAC’s, the Jewish Journal reported.


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