On politics in the Golden State

Category: Bill Bloomfield

Berman-Sherman House race sets spending record

WASHINGTON --To no surprise to San Fernando Valley voters who were inundated with campaign ads, robo calls and political mail, Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman set a record for spending by candidates in a California congressional race, shelling out  more than $11.7 million between them, according to new campaign finance reports.

     When spending by outside groups is added, the total outlay in the bitter contest won by Sherman was $16.3 million, making it one of the most expensive congressional races in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. 

    Although the Berman-Sherman race set a Golden State record for spending by the candidates, the San Diego congressional race won by Democrat Scott Peters over Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray was the costliest in California – $16.8 million – because of the more than $8.7 million spent by outside groups, including the political parties.

    Spending on the Berman-Sherman race surpassed the $11.5-million record for a California House race, set in 2000 when Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) ousted Republican incumbent James E. Rogan. But there was more outside spending -– an estimated $7.5 million -- by the political parties and interest groups in the 2000 race.  The race between Berman and Sherman, both Democrats, drew $4.5 million in outside spending.

   Sherman outspent Berman, $6 million to $5.7 million.

   Bill Bloomfield, a Manhattan Beach businessman running as an independent who lost a bid to replace Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), spent the most of any California House candidate, more than $7.9 million, much of it his own money. The Waxman campaign spent $2.6 million.


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Photo: Reps. Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a candidates forum in January. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times



Former Republican spends $1 million on congressional race

A wealthy Manhattan Beach businessman and developer has spent nearly $1 million—mostly his own money—on a campaign for a newly drawn congressional district seat in coastal Los Angeles County.

Bill Bloomfield, 61,  is one of eight candidates seeking the 33rd Congressional District seat, which runs from Beverly Hills and Malibu down the coast through the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  The incumbent is Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), running against a field of largely unknown candidates.

Bloomfield, a  former Republican who is running as an independent, is the only Waxman challenger spending significant money, according to federal campaign finance records. He has spent  much of his war chest  on campaign mailers and ads on cable television throughout the sprawling district.

The other candidates include three additional Democrats—marijuana legalization attorney Bruce Margolin, business attorney Zein E. Obagi and TV editor Tim Pape.  Also running are  Republican entrepreneur Christopher David, Green Party member and consumer rights advocate David William Steinman and Libertarian Party member and certified public accountant Steve Collette.

Under the state’s new elections system,  only  the candidates who finish first and second in Tuesday’s primary, regardless of any party affiliation, will advance to the November general  election.

Bloomfield outdistanced even Waxman in terms of the money he has available for his campaign;  he reported raising $1.2 million and spending $999,304 by May 16, the latest campaign filing date.  Most of his money-- $1,106, 430—came from his own bank account, records showed.  Bloomfield has contributed to Republican candidates over the years, including former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and is endorsed by former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, also a Republican.

Waxman had about $894,000 in his campaign  treasury.  None of the other candidates had anywhere near that much campaign money.

District registration is 44% Democratic and 28% Republican, with 23% of voters affiliating with no party.


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