Campaign 2012

Berman and Sherman play 'Dueling Republicans'

Thumbnail image for Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpgReps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are both Democrats, and not of the Blue Dog variety. They are liberal Democrats, more or less. But they also are fighting for their political survival in a San Fernando Valley congressional district that is about 26% Republican in registration, and by now most of the Democrats (48%) have probably long made up their minds who to vote for. So the latest tactic in the Berman-Sherman showdown is to claim the most Republican support, or at least the biggest names.

On Monday, as I reported in a Morning Buzz brief (all I thought the news was worth), Berman claimed the endorsements of Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Plus independent Joe Lieberman, who joined the top GOP senators in saying Berman's foreign policy chops are valuable in Congress.

Sherman's side countered with a press release downplaying those endorsements and offering a list of Republican backers that lacked national star power, but that at least had some locals: Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, his predecessor Greig Smith, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita and Burbank City Councilman Gary Bric. The release included a vaguely defined qualifier that really isn't true: "Brad Sherman is endorsed by every Republican elected official who lives in or near the San Fernando Valley." Near?

Berman's people came back Wednesday with their own list of local Republicans, including two you could argue live "near" the Valley: County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, whose district includes parts of the Valley, and Rep. Elton Gallegly, who lives over the hill in the Simi Valley area. The other is Rep. Ed Royce of Orange County, who I doubt has much clout with Valley Republicans.

By the way, 21% of the district's voters are classed as independents. For them, Sherman is able to claim the support of Councilman Dennis Zine, who re-registered not too long ago from Republican to independent.

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