With Redistricting and Top-Two Primary, Republicans Likely Will Decide Which Veteran Democrat Goes Back to Congress in CD 30

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

The combination of
a newly drawn congressional district in a heavily Democratic area along with
California’s experimental top-two primary probably means Republican voters will
determine whether Congressman Howard Berman or Congressman Brad Sherman will
represent the newly drawn 30th Congressional District.

Fourteen year
Congressional veteran Sherman will likely face off with Berman, who has been in
Congress twice as long, unless either one decides to seek a different seat,
which appears unlikely.

The two
heavyweights have plenty of connections to the San Fernando Valley where the
new seat is drawn.  They each have big
name supporters in their corner. Sherman recently touted the endorsement of
former President Bill Clinton while Berman received fundraising support from
the DreamWorks trio of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

Allan Hoffenblum,
publisher of the California Target Book, says, "The irony of the battle of the
big time Democrats is that it may be Republican voters who will determine the
eventual winner."

The reason: the
district is made up of nearly 49% registered Democratic voters, 25.5%
Republicans, and 20.9% Decline to State, with less than 5% registered with
various minor parties. Research tells us that Decline to State voters in this
district (voters not affiliated with any political party) tend to break toward
the Democrats. It is entirely possible that the two noted Democrats could
finish one-two under the top two primary voting system.

A Republican, Mark
Reed, has indicated he will run for the seat. However, he captured less than
35% of the vote against Sherman in 2010 and doesn’t appear to have much money
behind his candidacy.

Already, Bert and
Jane Boeckmann, whom the Los Angeles Daily News terms Mr. and Mrs.
L.A. Republican
, have endorsed Berman. The Boeckmanns, owners of Galpin
motors, have been joined on the  Berman
wagon by Galpin V.P. and Los Angeles Police Commissioner, Alan Skobin, a
Republican stalwart in the city.

There has been talk
of dual endorsements from Democratic political insiders who are friendly to
both congressmen and do not want to choose sides. If such activity takes place,
that would empower the Republican vote even more.

A theory behind the
top two primary is that in seeking support from voters with a different
political point of view, candidates may moderate their opinions. It seems hard
to believe that two long time veterans with positions well entrenched will
change their opinions much, especially when their positions are fairly similar.

Given the
circumstances, however, there may be some shaded statements not common from the
candidates to secure much of that 25% Republican vote that could turn the
election.

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