In the race for California’s 30th district, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) is running ahead of fellow Jewish Democratic incumbent Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys), an independent political newsletter has reported.
“Look, Sherman has released a poll showing him far ahead,” said David Wasserman, the house editor at The Cook Political Report, an independent newsletter that began publishing political analysis since 1984. “Berman has not released any polling thus far. That reflects that Sherman is starting this race with an initial advantage, primarily because he occupies more of the district.”
The listing of California’s 30th district as “lean[ing] Sherman” was included in a broader report published last month about House incumbents’ reelection chances. Sherman’s campaign circulated the report as further evidence that the eight-term incumbent is leading in the race against Berman, who has been serving in congress since 1983.
Wasserman’s analysis relied in part on a poll from August 2011 paid for by the Sherman campaign that showed Sherman beating Berman by wide margins—25 percentage points in a three-way race and 27 points in a head-to-head match-up.
“I don’t believe it’s quite that wide, and I also believe it will narrow,” Wasserman said. “This is not a race that is by any means an easy one for Sherman to win, or as easy as his poll would suggest.”
Like all elections, the race between Berman and Sherman will come down to a lot of different factors, including the amount of money that will be spent on what some have called the most expensive congressional campaign in American history.
Sherman had more cash on hand than Berman did at the end of September 2011, the most recent numbers available, but Berman has probably narrowed the funding gap since then. Berman’s campaign raised $1.6 million at a fundraiser in November, and two separate independent expenditure committees that can accept unlimited donations, known as Super-PACs, are known to be supporting Berman’s candidacy.
“Berman’s money advantage will help tighten this race,” Wasserman said, “but there’s another thing at work here too. These days a long list of endorsements from party officials and fellow members of a Washington delegation don’t necessarily sway Democratic voters like they used to.”
Both candidates have announced endorsements in recent months, with Sherman winning the support of five labor unions and Berman touting the support of 23 of the other California Democrats in the House of Representatives.