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Voters torn in battle between Berman-Sherman

June 5, 2012 |  4:30 pm

Brad Sherman
The hotly contested and expensive San Fernando Valley race between incumbent Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman has locals so torn over whom to vote for that one resident called the whole situation “a shame.”

Redistricting has forced the two popular congressmen to compete in a new district that incorporates pieces of their existing districts, and the pair have attracted millions of dollars in support of their candidacies.

The two veterans have worked to distinguish themselves from one another since both men have spent much of their adult lives in elected office and hold similar views on many national and world issues.

That left residents contemplative at the polls Tuesday. Many said they liked both candidates and had to make a tough choice.

Jerry Goodman, 53, is a small business owner and longtime resident of Woodland Hills. He has never missed an election, and his whole family closely follows politics, he said. He added that he and his family thoroughly discussed the ballot beforehand, and though he likes both candidates, he said he voted for Berman.

'I think first off, it's unfortunate, they're two very good congressmen,” he said. “It's too bad they have to run against each other, especially when they're probably on the same side on a lot of issues. But I think, in the end, Berman is more effective in getting things through Congress, he's helped author bills that have been passed."

Tom Cecil, 56, an attorney and resident of Woodland Hills, said he came to the polls mostly because he cared about the Sherman-Berman race. He asked The Times not to mention who he voted for but provided analysis.

“I was a little disappointed with Sherman's negative ads this week, but overall, he's always campaigned well,” Cecil said. “You see him at every event in the Valley -- graduations, bar events.... But Berman, who doesn't usually need to campaign as much, has been around longer. They're both good candidates."

Donald Sternberg, 61, also an attorney and a resident of Woodland Hill since 1961, voted for Berman, too. But in a sign of the difficult decision facing voters in the community, he added that his wife, in fact, voted for Sherman.

“What a shame that is,” he said. “I like them both; I'm sorry one of them may have to leave.”


Who's likely to vote in today's elections?

Follow California primary results with The Times

Election day: Southern California voters trickle in to polls

-- Rosanna Xia in the San Fernando Valley

Photo: Congressional candidate Brad Sherman  leaves his polling station in Sherman Oaks with his wife, Lisa, and three daughters. Sherman is in a race against fellow Rep. Howard L. Berman. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times