Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
According to a new study of the results of the 30th district primary held earlier this month, Rep. Brad Sherman, who finished first overall, was bested among Jewish voters by his opponent, Rep. Howard Berman.
“Voters with Jewish surnames supported Berman very strongly,” concluded the study, which was released on June 27 and conducted by RPData, a firm founded by redistricting consultant Paul Mitchell.
But Sherman, who finished 10 points ahead of Berman in the primary earlier this month, won more Asian and Latino votes than any other candidate, and also finished first with voters not expressing a party preference. Larger numbers of voters are expected to turn out to vote in November than they did in June, and among those voters, the greatest growth is expected among Latino voters and voters not expressing a party preference.
As a result, Mitchell and his colleagues believe that the significance of Berman’s winning among Jews wouldn’t be sufficient to propel him to victory in November.
“The Jewish strength for Berman is a strong messaging point in that campaign and likely a point of pride, however these voters are not going to exceed the 13% of the electorate seen in the June Primary,” the study read. “Their strength within the overall electorate could actually decline.”
RPData also found that among Republicans, who voted for Republican Mark Reed “by a sizeable margin” earlier this month, Sherman was the second-most popular candidate, winning more Republican votes than either of the two other Republicans on the ballot.
The study cautioned that Sherman’s strong showing among Republicans in June should not be taken as a prediction of a repeat result in November. It called Republicans “an unknown entity,” and said they might simply skip out on voting in the head-to-head race between Democrats in November.
For the full text (pdf) of the RPData study, click here.
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. . . (6)
11.7.12 at 7:12 am | Both candidates gave noncommittal speeches last. . . (3)
10.1.12 at 3:41 pm | Collecting interest on personal loans to campaign. . . (3)
June 13, 2012 | 2:56 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
This November, Allan Hoffman is going to have a difficult choice to make on Election Day.
A registered Republican since Ronald Reagan first ran for president, Hoffman, who lives in Woodland Hills, voted for Mark Reed in the 30th Congressional District primary on June 5. Reed, one of three Republican candidates on the primary ballot, received just 12.6 percent of votes cast, leaving him well behind the top two vote-getters, Rep. Brad Sherman (D–Sherman Oaks) and Rep. Howard Berman (D–Van Nuys).
Now, thanks to California’s new top-two primary system, Hoffman will have to choose which of the two Democratic incumbents to vote for in November.
This is the first election cycle to test the top-two primary system established by Proposition 14, which was approved by voters in 2010, and the political parties are still trying to figure out how — or whether — to advise their members in elections that don’t include a candidate from their party on the ballot.
For Republicans, party rules include sanctions for those who endorse against a Republican; what’s not clear is what happens if a member endorses in a race with no Republican candidate.
“The new election rules are going to force the parties to evaluate how they are going to engage in self-governance going forward,” Adam Abrahms, regional vice chair of the California Republican Party, said.
Some individual Republicans already have weighed in on both sides of the Berman-Sherman race, but the party is very unlikely to do so.
“We are not making any recommendations,” Gary Aminoff, vice chair of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County (LAGOP), said.
Still, with 26 percent of the voters in the 30th District registered as Republicans, both Berman and Sherman are working hard to win over the votes of non-Democrats — and they’re not the only ones running for office in the Los Angeles area doing so.
In two new Assembly districts with sizable minorities of Jewish voters, the 46th District in the central San Fernando Valley and the 50th District, which comprises most of the Westside of Los Angeles from West Hollywood to Malibu, voters could also face a choice in November between two Democratic candidates vying to represent them in Sacramento.
One Republican candidate ran in each of these strongly Democratic districts, and both managed to win enough votes to ensure that on June 12, when this article went to press, the races were still too close to call. In the 46th District, while Democrat Adrin Nazarian had secured the top spot, just four votes separated Democrat Brian Johnson and Republican Jay L. Stern, leaving open the question of who will end up in the second spot on the November ballot. Democrat Andrew Lachman trailed by nearly 300 votes.
On June 8, when he appeared to be less than 100 votes behind Johnson, Stern said that if the top two finishers were Nazarian and Johnson, he wouldn’t be making any official recommendations to voters as to which one to choose.
“They’re both equally bad,” said Stern, who said he considers himself culturally Jewish. “I’d say just leave it blank.”
In the 50th District, meanwhile, Republican Brad Torgan, who said he is a member of Congregation Kol Ami, was on June 11 just a few hundred votes behind the Democrats who appeared to have secured the top two spots, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom and incumbent Assemblymember Betsy Butler.
As of June 11, Torgan said he hadn’t conceded the race, but had already been approached by both Butler’s and Bloom’s campaigns. Torgan said that if he did not make it into the top two, he wasn’t sure what he, as an ex-officio member of LAGOP’s central committee, would be allowed to say about either of the Democrats.
“Proposition 14 has created a new paradigm as to what the rules are,” Torgan said. “And I know I’m not the only Republican
in this quandary.”
But according to California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, even if there are no Republicans in some races, the party will be working to get its voters to the polls in the fall. The presidential candidates may not be contesting this reliably blue state, but he said the propositions on the November ballot — including Gov. Jerry Brown’s measure to raise taxes on high-income earners — are too important to concede.
“It’s going to be one of the most dynamic and important elections in California, probably since 1992,” Del Beccaro said.
June 6, 2012 | 8:27 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
In what was likely the most closely watched contest of California’s June 5 primary elections, Rep. Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks) finished first in the new 30th Congressional District with 42.4 percent of the vote. Rep. Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys) won 32.4 percent of the vote, an outcome that put them both comfortably ahead of all five other candidates in the race and sets up a rematch in November between the two well-known and well-funded Democratic incumbents.
Speaking to their supporters on Tuesday night after the release of early results, Sherman and Berman each looked toward the race ahead.
“You are here at a victory party that is preparation for the next victory party,” Sherman said shortly after he arrived at the Encino restaurant where his supporters had gathered to watch the election results come in.
Berman supporters were at the candidate’s campaign offices, less than a half-mile away.
“This campaign wasn’t geared toward June,” Berman told them. “It was geared toward November.”
Both men tried to play up their strength in the campaign ahead.
Berman argued that voters were still getting to know him a district that includes 60 percent of Sherman’s current district.
“As voters learn of our record of accomplishment for the San Fernando Valley and for the nation, my support grows,” Berman, who is hoping to win his 16th term in Congress in November, said.
Sherman argued that any bump for Berman was a result of the money spent by his opponent’s campaign and an outside group supporting Berman—and focused on his own monetary advantage going forward.
“Tomorrow we will have $3 million in cash on hand, and they will have almost none,” Sherman said. “They will not dominate the airwaves in October.”
The other candidates in a field that included three Republicans finished well behind the two Democratic incumbents.
Combined, however, the Republicans took almost a quarter of the votes cast in the primary, and Berman and Sherman are already trying to court the registered Republican voters in the district.
The Berman campaign has sent out letters of support from former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, a Republican; the Sherman campaign recently sent letters to Republican voters in the district with an endorsement from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R - Huntington Beach), who wrote that “if you have decided to pick between Sherman and Berman, pick Sherman.”
June 6, 2012 | 2:20 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
While the June 5 primary marked the end of the preliminary round of voting for Rep. Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks) and Rep. Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys), who finished first and second in the 30th Congressional District primary election and will face off again in November, it was the last stop on the campaign trail for Republican candidate Susan Shelley.
I met Shelley around 11:30pm on Tuesday night in a bar in Tarzana, where she had been watching the results come in with her core supporters. At the time, with 15 percent of districts reporting, she had received just 4.4 percent of the votes cast.
“This was like a recall election,” Shelley said. “The voters do not want to recall the incumbents, based on 15 percent of the votes.”
Shelley said the results surprised her.
“The economy of the Valley is so terrible,” Shelley said, after handing a few flyers to some young men shooting pool, “and yet people do not seem to connect that with the incumbents’ support for the stimulus and the debt and the wild, crazy spending with no end in sight.”
As of 1 am, with 18.2 percent of precincts reporting, Shelley had received fewer votes than the two other Republicans on the primary ballot, actor/businessman/rancher Mark Reed and restaurateur Navraj Singh, and all three Republicans finished well behind the two Democratic incumbents.
Thanks to a new law passed by voters that sends the top two vote-getters in the open primary on to the general election, the results of Tuesday’s primary mean that November ballot in the 30th Congressional District will not feature a Republican candidate.
Combined, however, the Republican candidates took almost a quarter of the votes cast in the primary, and Berman and Sherman are already trying to court the registered Republican voters in the district.
The Berman campaign has sent out letters of support from former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, a Republican; the Sherman campaign recently sent letters to Republican voters in the district with an endorsement from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R - Huntington Beach), who wrote that while he would personally choose to voter for a Republican in the June 5 primary, “if you have decided to pick between Sherman and Berman, pick Sherman.”
Whether any of the unsuccessful Republican challengers to Berman and Sherman will direct any of their supporters to vote for one of the two incumbent Democrats in November remains to be seen.
On primary night, though, Shelley was non-committal, and offered no comment. She was still holding out hope that she would make a stronger showing in the West Valley, and she felt proud of her campaign.
“It’s been a great experience,” Shelley said, “and I think it was important to bring out the idea of being a fiscal conservative and a social moderate.”
June 6, 2012 | 1:39 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
June 3, 2012 | 2:07 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Rep. Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks) will finish first in the June 5 primary election, a new online survey has found. Rep. Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys), who, as a result of redistricting, is also running for reelection in the hotly contested 30th congressional district, is expected to come in second.
Given a choice between all seven candidates who will appear on the primary ballot, 32 percent of voters in the new West San Fernando Valley district chose Sherman, while 24 percent said they had or would be voting for Berman. If the survey turns out to be accurate, that would set up a second round for the two veteran Democratic Congressmen.
Under a new California law, the top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to a runoff in November.
The online survey, conducted by polling firms M4 Strategies and Tulchin Research for the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, asked 329 likely registered Primary Election voters in the district a series of questions in an online format.
Republican candidate Mark Reed came in third in the poll with 10 percent of voters saying they would or had voted for him. Trailing Reed were Republican Navraj Singh (4.3 percent), Green Party candidate Michael Powelson (3.5 percent), Republican Susan Shelley (1.9 percent) and Democrat Vince Gilmore (1.5 percent).
Twenty-three percent of voters said they were undecided.
Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife Online Survey and director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said that the high number of undecided voters could be a result of the poll’s being conducted online.
“On an online survey, respondents are much more likely to say, ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘No opinion,’”Schnur said.
Other than that one quirk, Schnur said that the survey had been experimenting with online polling since the beginning of the year, and its results so far have shown that online poll results should be considered to be as reliable as traditional phone surveys.
The results were announced in a release early this morning. Here are the three meatiest paragraphs:
Schnur pointed out that both candidates performed best among their current constituents, but that Sherman’s current district represents a larger portion of the new district than Berman’s. He also noted that Sherman supporters were more likely to prioritize taxes, infrastructure and immigration as the most important issues in their decision, while Berman voters ranked healthcare and the candidate’s experience as their top concerns. Sherman’s backers were heavily Latino and Catholic, while Berman ran much stronger among Jewish voters, especially Reform Jews.
“Both candidates run best on their home turf among voters who know them best,” Schnur said. “They are going to spend the next several months fighting over voters who supported neither one of them in the primary and attempting to discourage their opponent’s supporters from turning out.”
“Ironically, the battle between these two Democratic stalwarts may be decided by Republican voters.”
The poll, which was conducted between May 29 to 31, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/- 5.4 percent, also makes use of some online tools that wouldn’t be available to pollsters working over the phone. In an interview on Friday, Schnur told me that online polls allow pollsters not just to ask more questions, but also to show voters videos of advertisements to then gauge their reactions.
This poll showed voters ads for Sherman and Berman and then gauged their persuasiveness. Of the two ads shown, the Sherman campaign ad did better.
But in an interesting move, the pro-Berman ad shown to voters was not to one of the ads created by the Berman campaign itself.
The surveyed voters watched one of the ads created and paid for by the Committee to Elect an Effective Valley Congressman, the only pro-Berman Super-PAC still active in this race. Those ads have been called “amateurish” by some.
June 2, 2012 | 12:01 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
If the last few weeks of news coverage is any indication, from now until this Tuesday, a shocking number of pundits, analysts and prognosticators will be talking about the race between Rep. Howard Bernan (D - Van Nuys) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks).
But I wanted a unique view, so, when I talked recently with Adrin Nazarian, a candidate for Assembly running in the hotly contested 46th district (which partially overlaps with the 30th congressional district), I asked him what he thought of the Berman-Sherman grudge match.
I asked, not just because Nazarian is a Democrat who is also facing off against other Democrats in the June 5th primary, but because he worked for both Berman and Sherman. Nazarian’s official political biography starts off with his stint as an aide to Sherman, but his first political internship was in Berman’s district office, where he spent a summer during college.
“The best way I can say it,” said Nazarian, who is chief of staff to Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, “is with one you have an individual who can possibly speak to any prime minister he chooses to speak with, that’s the gravity he brings to his job.
“And then,” he continued, “with another one, you have someone who brings Washington, D.C., to your doorstep. You don’t want to lose either one, because they are so different in what they do. That’s the beauty of a legislative body; you want to harness the talents of two individuals like these.”
(That was Berman, then Sherman.)
Now, I’ve been covering this race for awhile, and I haven’t heard anyone sum up the stylistic difference between these two legislators in a more elegant—and yes, politic—way than Nazarian did.
Most voters will be hearing from journalists, though, and we’re taking, shall we say, different approaches to the task.
Some of us get right to the heart of the matchup, like KPCC’s Frank Stoltze did—starting with the redistricting that caused the whole race to begin with, and trying to draw as many distinctions as exist between two admittedly similar congressmen, in an effort to help voters make a tough decision.
Others adopt a snarkier position, like Molly Ball did in the Atlantic. She started with the assumption that the two congressmen were all but indistinguishable but for their differing styles of representation (“like different haircuts on identical twins,” was her way of putting it) and then asked questions unlikely to enlighten the reader. (Ball: “If you were an animal, I asked each man, what kind of animal would you be?” To their credit, both congressmen dodged the question—in different ways, I might add.)
Others, like Hillel Aron in the LA Weekly, manage to both mock the race’s participants while also offering important context for it—in practically the same breath:
Berman…who bears a faint resemblance to Senator Palpatine from the Star Wars series, has never in his life run in a competitive re-election race. Not once since his election to the state Assembly has his vote dipped below 60 percent.
Well, he’s got one now. According to his press people, Berman will be running all over the Valley on Saturday and Sunday to get out the vote. (Sunday’s itinerary includes stops at two different Jewish old age homes.)
And although we’ll have to wait until evening to find out who won, it looks as though Sherman, who is scheduled to vote at 7 am, will beat Berman to the polls on Tuesday morning. (Berman’s schedule has him down for 8:30 am.)
And no, the two candidates don’t have the same polling place.