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Berman and Sherman campaigns offer a peek at fundraising numbers

by Jonah Lowenfeld

April 9, 2012 | 3:54 pm

The campaigns of Rep. Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks) both closed their books on the first quarter of 2012 at the end of March and in the days leading up to release of official numbers from the Federal Election Commission, both operations tried to signal their strength and preparedness for a long and expensive fight.

On April 5, Politico cited “a source close to the campaign” in its report that Berman had raised $600,000 during the first quarter of 2012. Between those donations and the $2.85 million in cash the campaign had at the end of 2011, Berman’s forthcoming FEC filing should show him with well over $3 million in cash on hand.

The next day, Sherman’s campaign released a statement saying it had $4 million in cash on hand.

More will be known about the financial state of the two campaigns when their official filings become public on April 15, but the two preliminary reports show that while Sherman still has more total cash on hand, Berman continues to collect donations at a more rapid pace.

Buoyed by an internal poll that showed Sherman leading Berman by a 2-1 margin, Sherman’s campaign consultant, Parke Skelton, sent a confident message to reporters.

“We’ve been able to finance a robust campaign where we have visited, called, and mailed to ever likely voter in the district again and again,” Skelton said in a statement. “We still have $4 million cash on hand to carry on a more robust campaign in future months.”

In a statement released on its website on April 4, the Berman campaign cast doubt on the reliability of the poll. “Were it true, it simply reflects the fact that he [Sherman] currently represents a majority of the district. Nothing more,” read the unsigned statement on the “News” section of HowardBerman.com.

The statement went on to say that the campaign would, in the coming weeks, “be communicating through mail, TV, radio and Internet ads.”

In the new 30th district, where Democratic voters outnumber Republican ones by a 2-1 margin, the best-known Republican candidates in the race will have significantly fewer resources at their disposal.

In a radio debate on “Which Way L.A.?” with Berman and Sherman earlier this month, Republican candidate Mark Reed said he had raised about $15,000 for his campaign so far. Reed is scheduled to appear at a $1,000 per person fundraiser in Malibu hosted by Michael Reagan on April 10.

Another participant in the same debate, Republican candidate Susan Shelley, was less specific about the resources at her disposal.

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As a result of California’s 2011 redistricting, two Jewish Democratic incumbent congressmen, Howard Berman (D - Valley Village) and Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks), have both...

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