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Sherman is staying put, despite Berman supporter's plea

February 18, 2012 |  7:10 pm

Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman

Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett’s decision a week ago to drop out of the race for an open congressional seat did more than disappoint those who liked his chances. His announcement at the California Democratic Party’s convention also revived speculation that Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) would step into the race and avoid a costly, contentious showdown with Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) for a San Fernando Valley seat.

A letter to convention delegates from state Board of Equalization member Betty Yee was circulating even before Bennett made his announcement. Yee worked successfully with other Berman backers to keep Sherman from getting the party’s endorsement. 

“It would be insane, self-destructive and wrong -- horribly wrong” for the party to endorse Sherman, Yee began her letter. She suggested that Sherman switch to the neighboring 26th District.  

After all, the newly drawn district that Bennett no longer wants to represent is much more Democrat-friendly than in its previous iteration. (Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly represents much of the new district but announced his retirement after last year’s redrawing of political maps put his Simi Valley home in the same district as that of fellow GOP Rep. Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita.)

Sherman represented the area when he was on the Board of Equalization. He “knows Ventura County and Ventura County knows him,” Yee said.

But Sherman had heard all that before -- albeit before Gallegly announced he wouldn’t run -- and wasn’t buying it.

The congressman isn't trading Sherman Oaks for Thousand Oaks, according to Sherman’s campaign consultant, Parke Skelton.

“No, Brad Sherman is not running in the 26th,” Skelton said in an email Friday.

So it’s on to Tuesday night, when Sherman and Berman are scheduled to square off in their second debate of the campaign, a forum sponsored by the Jewish Journal.


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-- Jean Merl

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