PolitiCal

On politics in the Golden State

Category: Brad Sherman

Berman-Sherman House race sets spending record

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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.

 ALSO:

Lawmakers want to change Proposition 13

Rural counties seek bigger share of prison money

New Assembly members already eyeing seats in Senate

--Richard Simon in Washington

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

 

 

Jerry Brown, California Democrats appear to be big winners in election

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Gov. Jerry Brown’s $6-billion-a-year tax initiative to rescue California schools and the state's finances appeared to squeak by with a victory early Wednesday, and Democrats' grip on Sacramento tightened as the party crept toward winning a super-majority in both houses of the Legislature.

Tuesday's election also brought an end to the three-decade-long congressional career of Rep. Howard Berman, who early Wednesday morning conceded defeat in his political slugfest against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in the San Fernando Valley.

The bitter contest between Sherman and Berman, awash in more than $13 million in campaign spending by the candidates and independent political groups, was triggered when California's newly drawn political boundaries put the two incumbents in the same district.

"I congratulate Brad. ... I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition," Berman said in a concise concession statement early Wednesday.

FULL RESULTS: California races

In a similar high-profile mash-up between Democrats, Rep. Janice Hahn of San Pedro was cruising to an easy win against Rep. Laura Richardson of Long Beach in a newly drawn district that includes many minority, working-class communities, election results showed.

Among other closely watched races for California House seats, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) narrowly defeated state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) in Ventura County, and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) bested former Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, according to results with all voter precincts reporting in those districts.

California's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, won an easy reelection victory over nonprofit executive Elizabeth Emken, her underfunded, little-known Republican challenger.

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

The governor woke up Wednesday as one of the biggest apparent victors in Tuesday’s election, however.

Facing well-funded opposition, Brown campaigned heavily for Proposition 30 as a way to restore fiscal sanity to Sacramento and to stave off deep cuts to public schools and universities. The initiative calls for a quarter-cent increase to sales taxes for four years and a seven-year tax hike on California’s highest earners.

Californians have not approved a statewide tax increase since 2004.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a competing measure bankrolled by millionaire civil rights lawyer Molly Munger -- Proposition 38 – which would have increased income taxes for most Californians to raise funds primarily for schools and early childhood education.

In one of the highest-profile state ballot measures, labor unions appeared to defeat Proposition 32, which would have reduced their political influence by barring unions from using paycheck deductions for political purposes.

Californians also soured on a measure to abolish the death penalty -– Proposition 34 -- which was trailing badly with most of the voter precincts reporting Wednesday morning.

Other law-and-order measures were greeting more warmly. Voters favored Proposition 36, which would change the three-strikes sentencing law so offenders whose third strikes were minor, nonviolent crimes could no longer be given 25 years to life in prison.

Voters also supported Proposition 35, which promoted increased punishment for sex trafficking of a minor. Both led by wide margins with most ballots counted.

With most ballots tallied across California, initiatives to label genetically engineered foods and change state law to create a new car insurance discount appeared headed for defeat.

One of the biggest surprises of the election was the Democrats' strong showing in legislative races. Democrats appear on the verge of winning a two-thirds majority in the state Senate and Assembly, enough to approve tax measures without Republican support.

In Los Angeles County, veteran prosecutor Jackie Lacey became the county's first female and first African American district attorney after defeating Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson. Jackson conceded early Wednesday morning.

Lacey, 55, touted herself as the only candidate with the experience to run the office. She had the support of her boss, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring after three terms.

Los Angeles County voters also approved a local measure requiring adult film actors to wear condoms. With most precincts reporting, a measure to fund transportation projects by extending a countywide sales-tax increase for an additional 30 years remained just shy of the two-thirds vote required for approval.

Some races remained too close to call, including the San Diego congressional race between Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-Carlsbad) and Democrat Scott Peters, a San Diego environmental attorney. In the Coachella Valley, Democratic emergency room doctor Raul Ruiz was leading Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) with just under two-thirds of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning.

ALSO:

Munger’s Proposition 38 fails, according to AP

Prop. 40, on state Senate districts, passes, per AP

Proposition 36 on three-strikes law passes, AP says

-- Phil Willon

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown addresses supporters of Proposition 30 and 32 at the Sheraton Hotel in Sacramento Tuesday. Source: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Berman concedes in 30th congressional district

Rep. Howard Berman has conceded to fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman after a bitter fight with his younger House colleague over a San Fernando Valley seat.

In his concession statement, Berman said, "I congratulate Brad. ... I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition."

The battle between the two men with similar voting records grew from two recent changes in the state’s political landscape: fresh political maps that put both their homes in the reconfigured 30th Congressional District and a new top-two primary system that lets two members of the same party compete in the general election.

Sherman, 58, went on the attack almost from the start, taking swipes at the 71-year-old Berman’s age and criticizing his votes on foreign trade agreements and initial legislation to rescue the nation’s troubled financial  institutions.  

FULL RESULTS: California races

Berman at first tried to stay above the fray, emphasizing his achievements in three decades in Congress and his reputation for working effectively across party lines. But he changed course after finishing 10 points behind Sherman in the primary, and the race grew increasingly testy. Berman launched a “BS Report” to knock Sherman’s style and what it characterized as Sherman’s lack of substantive legislation.   

Things grew so contentious that the two got physical at a Pierce College candidates forum.  Berman stepped close to Sherman as the congressmen argued hotly, and Sherman thrust his arm around Berman, shouting, “You want to get into this?”

 Spending by the campaigns and outside groups had surpassed $13 million as election day neared.

 -- Jean Merl

Women's group supports both candidates in Valley congressional race

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Voters who haven't yet made up their minds between the two liberal Democrats vying for a San Fernando Valley congressional district seat shouldn't expect much help from the California chapter of the National Organization for Women.

That group announced Monday it is supporting both Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, praising each man's  record on issues important to women, including choice and job discrimination.

The two are locked in an increasingly contentious, high-spending race for the 30th Congressional District.  Redrawn political maps put their homes in the same district and the state's new "top two" primary system sent them both to Tuesday's general election.

"With redistricting. we find ourselves in the inevitable  position of losing one of these pro-women voices in Congress, " California NOW President Patty Bellasalma said in a written statement.

"The truth is," Bellasalma continued, "when one of these legislators loses the election tomorrow, women in California -- and across the nation -- also lose."

The San Fernando Valley chapter of NOW  announced last month that it was endorsing Sherman, calling him “a real champion for women.”

ALSO:

California sets new record for voter registration

Gov. Jerry Brown has no patience for "dystopians and declinists"

California Supreme Court orders Arizona nonprofit to turn over records

--Jean Merl

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

 

 

 

Berman, Sherman battle to the end [Google+ hangout]

Times reporter Jean Merl will join city editor Shelby Grad in a Google+ hangout at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the two Democratic House veterans battling for the San Fernando Valley's 30th District.

Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are locked what has become one of the costliest and most contentious congressional races in the state. The two continued to pound each other as their campaigns entered the final weekend before the election.

From the latest from Merl:

Volunteers for Rep. Howard Berman planned to fan out throughout the San Fernando Valley's 30th District to distribute a double-message door hanger. One side features a photo of an angry Sherman reaching for Berman when things got physical at a Pierce College debate earlier this month. The flip side takes an entirely different tack — it shows Berman when he was invited to join President Obama at a fundraiser earlier this year and  lists some of Berman’s endorsers, including Gov. Jerry Brown, both of California’s U.S. senators, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Times and the L.A. Daily News. One of Berman’s final two mailers strikes similar themes, and the other provides a chart comparing the two congressmen’s records.

[...]

[Campaign spokesman John] Schwada said Sherman currently is airing two cable TV ads, one a positive piece about his family and accomplishments for constituents and another slamming Berman for travels abroad financed by taxpayers or special interests. The last piece of campaign mail will land in mailboxes over the weekend, but Schwada wouldn’t say what it contains.

Sherman has campaigned on his accessibility and visibility at community events and has tried to turn Berman’s long list of endorsements from national political figures on both sides of the aisle into a shortcoming.

ALSO:

Berman-Sherman battle enters final weekend

George Skelton's guide to California ballot measures

Disclosure by Arizona nonprofit shows ties to Koch brothers

Berman-Sherman battle enters final weekend

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The two Democratic House veterans battling in what has become one of the costliest and most contentious congressional races in the state continued to pound each other as the race headed into its final weekend. But they also had some positive messages for voters who might be weary of all the negativity.

Volunteers for Rep. Howard Berman planned to fan out throughout the San Fernando Valley’s 30th District to distribute a double-message door hanger. One side features a photo of an angry Sherman reaching for Berman when things got physical at a Pierce College debate earlier this month. The flip side takes an entirely different tack — it shows Berman when he was invited to join President Obama at a fundraiser earlier this year and  lists some of Berman’s endorsers, including Gov. Jerry Brown, both of California’s U.S. senators, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Times and the L.A. Daily News. One of Berman’s final two mailers strikes similar themes, and the other provides a chart comparing the two congressmen’s records.

Berman’s weekend will be divided between get-out-the-vote activities at his campaign headquarters and  contacting voters by attending farmers markets, house parties  and a Day of the Dead festival, said campaign strategist Brandon Hall.

Hall believes more than one-quarter of voters still haven’t made up their minds and could make the difference if most of them go for the same candidate.

“We’re focusing on those voters and making our case that Howard is by far the more accomplished” of the two lawmakers. “I think we have made the case,” Hall added, that while the two have similar voting records, “you could not have two more dissimilar people in temperament and substance.”

Sherman, who has made a career of attending community events and holding “town hall” meetings with constituents, is spending much of the final weekend calling supporters to be sure they cast ballots.  Campaign spokesman John  Schwada said Sherman and volunteers have been averaging 1,500 calls a day recently.

Schwada said Sherman currently is airing two cable TV ads, one a positive piece about his family and accomplishments for constituents and another slamming Berman for travels abroad financed by taxpayers or special interests. The last piece of campaign mail will land in mailboxes over the weekend, but Schwada wouldn’t say what it contains.

 Sherman has campaigned on his accessibility and visibility at community events and has tried to turn Berman’s long list of endorsements from national political figures on both sides of the aisle into a shortcoming.

“Brad is the voice of the Valley and Howard Berman is the voice of outsiders,” said Schwada. 

But Hall said Berman’s backing from such Republican stalwarts as Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina show Berman’s ability to command respect across the political spectrum and to work with members of both parties to get things done.  “Our job is to make people understand what Howard’s record is,” Hall said.

Nor do the two camps agree on the significance of the Pierce College dust-up. During a particularly heated argument at the candidates forum, Berman, shouting “You’re wrong! You”re wrong,”  moved close to Sherman, who clutched him by shoulders and yelled, “You want to get into this?!” The incident was caught on video, posted on YouTube and made news on both coasts. It was used by the Berman campaign in mail and a TV ad questioning Sherman’s temperament.  

The Sherman campaign responded with a mailer saying the whole thing was blown out of proportion: “About five seconds of conflict in a heated year-long campaigns.  Is this an important issue? No.”

But the Berman camp thinks it could be a game-changer, a “defining moment,” Hall called it.

Voters, of course, will decide which view is right.

ALSO:

California sets new record for voter registration

Authorities racing the clock to identify Arizona donors

L.A. Democrats decry outside group's mailer slamming elected officials 

--Jean Merl

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

 

 

L.A. Democrats decry outside group's mailer slamming elected officials

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The Los Angeles County Democratic Party on Tuesday denounced an outside group's mailer in a hotly contested San Fernando Valley congressional district race. The mailer, sent to Republican voters by Californians for Integrity in Government to support Rep. Brad Sherman in his battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, features three prominent liberal Democrats who are supporting Berman.

"If you love these politicians, then vote for Howard Berman," says the mailer's headline above photos of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.

Eric Bauman,  chairman of the county Democratic Party, released a statement saying his organization "strongly condemns the negative and divisive mailer by the so-called Californians for Integrity in Government.

"This is exactly the reason why we opposed 'super Pacs' and other non-identified independent expenditure committees that feel free to make misleading, nasty, ugly and libelous statements about candidates without restraint."

Some critics saw the mailer as racist, sexist and anti-gay because Waters is black, Boxer is a feminist and Frank is gay.

The Berman campaign on Monday criticized the mailer in an email to supporters seeking donations. "I know your mailbox has been filled with distorted information about Howard, but this one takes the cake," the email began.

The Sherman side also condemned the mailer and pointed it out has no control over actions by groups operating outside the campaign.

Californians for Integrity in Government has spent around $400,000 to oppose Berman and support Sherman, federal records show. Another outside group has raised money to support Berman and oppose Sherman.

Both Democrats are trying to appeal to Republican voters as well as their own base.

ALSO:

Skelton: Proposition 39 fixes lawmakers' tax mistake

Ex-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez takes hit in real estate market

Berman, Sherman mix it up -- again -- in congressional race forum

-- Jean Merl

Photo: Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman, left, and Howard Berman at a candidates forum earlier this year. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Berman, Sherman running new attack ads on TV

  Rivals Howard Berman and Brad Sherman
Is anybody surprised? The Howard Berman campaign has a new TV ad featuring  last week's heated confrontation with rival  Brad Sherman, capturing the moment at which Sherman pulled his smaller, older opponent close and shouted, "You want to get into this?"

The two Democratic congressmen, battling for a San Fernando Valley congressional district seat, had been arguing at a Pierce College candidates forum during an increasingly bitter campaign. The Berman ad, riffing on the campaign's previous allegations that Sherman is "ineffective, mean and too angry," shows the congressman's  face convulsed with anger while a man's voice announces, "Brad Sherman is just not fit to represent us."

Sherman's campaign also has a new TV ad. It features a cardboard cutout of Aloha shirt-clad Berman photographed at some of the places he has visited around the world and talks about the congressman's trips paid for by taxpayers or special interests and  his attendance record.  "Forty years in Congress," it says, "176 junkets, 1,434 missed votes."

Less than three weeks to go until voters send one of these longtime officeholders back to Washington and the other to the ranks of the unemployed. 

ALSO:

Gov. Jerry Brown to hit the road for Prop. 30

Jerry Brown, back on the stump, reaches out to young voters

State hotline gave wrong information on voter registration deadline

--Jean Merl

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

 

 

 

 


 

 

Reps. Berman, Sherman continue to rake in campaign cash

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Ka-ching! That’s become a familiar sound in the San Fernando Valley slugfest between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman.

Together, the two Democrats have spent more than $9 million through Sept. 30, according to the latest campaign finance reports.  Democrat Adam Schiff and Republican Jim Rogan set a record for a California House race by spending $11.5 million in their 2000 Glendale-area contest won by Schiff.

Heading into the crucial final weeks before the Nov. 6 election, Sherman had more cash on hand  than Berman -- $1.8 million to about $394,000, according to the reports. But each campaign contended that the other had less money to spend than reflected in the reports because of debts.

In addition to what the candidates spent, the race has drawn $2.5 million in outside spending, including $1 million spent by a pro-Berman Super PAC for such things as putting Berman’s name on a mailer targeted to Republican voters. A pro-Sherman group, Committee for Integrity in Government, also has spent about $179,000 on the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.

Some other California races that have been targeted by the parties in their battle for control of the House have drawn a lot more outside spending.

Sherman raised a total of about $3 million for the election cycle, including $700,000 of his own money loaned to the campaign. Berman raised a total of roughly $4.2 million for the election cycle.

ALSO:

Skelton: Proposition 39 fixes lawmakers' tax mistake

Ex-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez takes hit in real estate market

Berman, Sherman mix it up -- again -- in congressional race forum

-- Richard Simon in Washington

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

Berman, Sherman get into near-altercation at forum [Video]

The bitter race for a San Fernando Valley congressional district took a bizarre turn Thursday when Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) got into a near-altercation during a forum at Pierce College.

Video of the event in Woodland Hills shows the candidates exchanging words and Sherman at one point putting his arm around Berman, saying: "Do you want to get into this?"

A uniformed officer then came onto the stage and appeared to ask that they move away from each other.

Both men are vying for a newly drawn congressional district in what is considered one of the nation's nastiest congressional races.

Things were decidedly calmer at a forum on Wednesday.

Some of the more personal attacks they have lobbed at each other, regarding Berman's use of a government car and Sherman's earnings on loans he made to his campaign, were absent from that debate.

Berman called his rival a "me too congressman," alleging he's known for jumping on popular bills as a co-sponsor but has passed only three he wrote -- two of them to rename post offices.

Sherman retorted that improving someone else's bills and stopping "bad" legislation was just as important as introducing legislation. 

Then he dinged Berman for voting to go to war with Iraq (so did Sherman, but he insisted it was only after he felt boxed into a choice between giving then-President George W. Bush "no power or too much power." Both said their votes were a mistake, based on erroneous intelligence reports that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction.

The Wednesday forum, held at ONEgeneration in Reseda, was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and four other organizations. The session broke little new ground but gave about 200 audience members a chance to size up the competitors in person. 

The two men again demonstrated that they agree on many issues, among them the need to protect women's rights, to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that awaits the nation in January if House Democrats and Republicans can't agree on a budget and deep spending cuts kick in, and the importance of not yielding to calls to allow oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas.

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