The bitter fight to represent the newly redrawn 30th congressional district in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley is finally over.
Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman swamped fellow Democrat Howard Berman to win the seat. With 83% of precincts counted, he held a gaping 60%-40% lead.
The contest between the two incumbents, pitted against one another as a result of the constitutionally required redrawing of congressional districts that takes place once a decade after the completion of the national census, was bitterly fought at one of the highest costs for any congressional race.
The crushing defeat spells the end of the 30-year political career of Berman, 71, an influential moderate pro-Israel Jewish voice that will no longer be heard on Capitol Hill.
The race shaped up as a peculiarly Los Angeles kind of class struggle. Rich Hollywood Jews including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and other entertainment industry heavies lined up for Berman while working folks in the Valley went for Sherman.
It was also a struggle between a Beltway insider with backing from the Democratic establishment, including President Obama, and a local favorite with grass roots support. The results were not surprising given that Sherman won a comfortable lead over Berman in California’s new “best of two” primary system in June.
Rex Weiner is a Brooklyn-born, third-generation journalist who from 1992 to 1997 covered the entertainment industry as a staff reporter for Daily Variety, where his column, Lost and Found, appeared weekly. His articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Observer and LA Weekly, and he contributes regularly to Rolling Stone Italia. His screenwriting credits include “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane” (20th Century Fox), and he was one of the first writers of the TV series “Miami Vice.” He is a founding editor of High Times magazine and a co-author of The Woodstock Census (Viking, 1979), one of the key texts analyzing the impact of the ’60s generation on American society. He is currently based in Los Angeles and in the town of Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, where his fluent Spanish and capacity for tequila come in handy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.