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.”