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Jewish Journal

Howard Berman is sending out mail, too

by Jonah Lowenfeld

May 23, 2012 | 10:25 pm

California’s June 5 primary election is less than two weeks away, and if you’re a registered voter who lives in California’s 30th congressional district in the West San Fernando Valley, chances are good that Rep. Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks) are using the good old USPS to try to snag your vote.

Of course, there was the widely reported story about the recent Sherman mailer that either did or did not feature the candidate’s mother (and the conflicting explanations for why that happened), but turns out there’s more in the mailbag, from his opponent.

The Daily News noticed that the Berman campaign is using a little bait-and-switch to improve the chances that their direct mail solicitations for votes actually get read:

Berman catches a potential voter’s eye with campaign advertising that doesn’t look like campaign advertising. It’s a 7 1/2-by-4-inch envelope whose only lettering says: “JURY DUTY IS GOOD CITIZENSHIP.” A recipient might think: This could be a jury summons. Better open it and find out!

Likely Republican voters in the district also received another interesting piece of mail from the Berman campaign this month: a letter from former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, urging them to pick Howard over Brad.

After calling Berman “one of the best Congressmen in America,” Riordan closes his letter this way:

We Republicans are practical. The two party registration in your congressional district is 70% Democratic to 30% Republican. One of the two Democratic Congressmen who are running will surely win. Please don’t waste your vote! Make Howard Berman the one who wins!

When it landed in the mailbox of Susan Shelley, a Republican running in the open primary on June 5, she wasn’t too happy to hear the former mayor describing a vote for her as “wasted.”

“Former Mayor Riordan is free to support an incumbent Democrat if he so chooses,” Shelley said in an emailed statement, “but he should not mislead Los Angeles voters into thinking the Democrats are unbeatable. There are two Democratic incumbents who will split the Democratic vote in this district. If Republicans and independents vote for a Republican candidate, that candidate will finish in the top two.”

Shelley also had a quibble about Riordan’s math—she’d rather talk about the whole of the electorate (49 percent Democrat, 26 percent Republican, 21 percent Decline-to-State). But Shelley’s analysis suggesting that a Republican could finish in the top two only holds up if there’s only one Republican running in Berman-Sherman land.

Unfortunately for Shelley, who I profiled in last week’s issue of the Jewish Journal, she’s one of three Republicans on the ballot, and the Sherman campaign’s poll from back in March (still the only poll that’s been released so far) shows her in fourth place, well behind the two incumbents, who finished in the top two spots.

Is there more interesting mail out there? Send it my way.

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