Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Is the race between Jewish incumbent democratic congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman splitting the Jewish community in two?
That was the question posed to me by a correspondent from CNN earlier this week. And while the short answer is no (or at least not yet), a longer answer is worthwhile—and serves as a good introduction to this new blog, which will follow this unique race as it develops.
The cable news channel’s documentary unit came to the Jewish Journal’s offices on Tuesday as part of a nationwide look at the once-a-decade redistricting process. The hour-long special, set to air in November, will take a particularly in-depth look at California, where for the first time, the lines dividing the state into political districts were drawn not by elected officials but by an appointed Citizens Redistricting Commission.
And like many media outlets, CNN is watching the developing race between Reps. Berman and Sherman in the newly drawn 30th congressional district, located in the West San Fernando Valley.
The two Jewish incumbent Democrats have been representing adjacent districts in the San Fernando Valley for years, and when the new district lines were finalized in August, it didn’t take long for Sherman—and only a short time later, Berman—to go into reelection campaign mode.
Sherman and Berman have both released high-profile endorsements, and Sherman has circulated poll numbers that show him winning either a two-way or three-way race—results that Berman, in a recent article in the Forward, appeared to agree with.
But the primary election—an open primary in which all voters can cast ballots—won’t take place until June of 2012, and the top two finishers from that election wouldn’t run against one another until the following November. Both dates are a long way off.
Numerous journalists are covering this story—of Jew v. Jew, of Dem v. Dem. But aside from the people who have already endorsed each candidate, nobody has publicly encouraged either Berman or Sherman to move from the 30th district and run for reelection somewhere else—least of all Jewish community leaders.
Politically savvy Jews and well-informed Israel supporters are paying attention to the race—but publicly at least, they’re all simply hoping that a way will be found to keep both congressmen in office.
As for the voters, it doesn’t appear to be the primary item on their agenda—that is, if they’re aware of the looming head-to-head matchup at all. At Sherman’s town hall meeting in August, aside from the questions asked by three journalists in attendance, the prospect of a Berman v. Sherman race came up only once.
Sherman sidestepped that question saying that the focus of the town hall meeting was policy, not politics—but his constituents were leaning in that direction anyway. People asked about job creation. They asked about the American involvement in Libya. One person asked about Israel; another young man, an Iraq War veteran, asked about a military decoration he felt he was owed.
Those were Sherman’s most involved constituents—and in August, they had other things on their minds. But in the months between now and June 2012, the Berman-Sherman conundrum will become increasingly unavoidable.
Or it could go away. Somehow.
3.14.13 at 9:24 am | The veteran former congressman joins Covington &. . .
1.4.13 at 2:55 pm | Colleagues paid tribute in in the House chamber. . .
12.19.12 at 3:06 pm | In political campaigns, how and when a strategist. . .
12.12.12 at 12:22 pm | Sherman and Berman spent $40 for each registered. . .
11.12.12 at 11:22 pm | And this blogger scratches his head.
11.7.12 at 2:46 pm | The National Jewish Democratic Council sent this. . .
10.12.12 at 1:36 pm | On Friday, leaders in the movement for. . . (7)
5.17.12 at 6:23 pm | Ah, Jews and their Yiddishe mamas. (3)
10.3.12 at 11:31 pm | Berman campaign is using a much larger -- and. . . (3)
September 15, 2011 | 5:16 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
For those who want to catch up on the Jewish Journal’s coverage of the race between Reps. Howard Berman (D - Valley Village) and Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks) in California’s newly drawn 30th congressional district, here’s a roundup of the articles and entries we’ve published over the last couple of months.
June 10, 2011, “Berman and Sherman may face off in newly drawn districts”
Even the first draft of lines released by the Citizens Redistricting Commission hinted at the possibility of a Berman-Sherman face-off.
July 19, 2011 - “Berman vs. Sherman?”
This in-depth cover story, published just before the Citizens Redistricting Coalition released its final draft of the state’s political boundaries, reported what Jewish leaders were (and were not) willing to say about the race—and it was the first reporting of Rep. Henry Waxman’s official endorsement of Berman, his longtime friend and colleague.
August 2, 2011 - “Jewish Journal writer talks Calif. redistricting on KCRW”
KCRW’s Warren Olney invited a number of people to talk about redistricting—including Jewish Journal staff writer Jonah Lowenfeld.
August 5, 2011 - “Bill Clinton, state and local officials endorse Sherman in contested West Valley district”
Almost immediately after the CRC final lines were released, Sherman released a list of endorsements—topped by a quote from Bill Clinton.
August 17, 2011 - “2 Jewish congressmen, 1 Valley district: Sherman lists endorsements, Berman waits”
A closer look at Sherman’s initial endorsements, along with a response from Berman.
August 23, 2011 - “Sherman releases poll showing early lead; ‘Dewey beats Truman,’ counters Berman”
August 24, 2011 - “Opinion: Prep for costly fight as Berman, Sherman keep gloves on”
Opinion writer Bill Boyarsky looks at the Berman and Sherman race, wonders about how expensive it could get—and then realizes that neither candidate is going to back off.
August 30, 2011 - “Sherman, Berman reveal differences early in race”
Following Sherman to a town hall and scanning Berman’s schedule of meetings in an effort to find differences—in substance and style—between them.
August 31, 2011 - “Howard Berman Announces Five Endorsements”
Berman announced endorsements from Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Diane Feinstein, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Rep. Henry Waxman.
September 7, 2011 - Letters
A letter from Rabbi John Rosove outlining the different reactions that he and other supporters of the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group J Street have gotten from Berman and Sherman.
September 8, 2011 - “Berman and Sherman react differently to Obama’s speech”