Jewish Journal

Sherman has large cash advantage; Berman raised (and spent) more

by Jonah Lowenfeld

April 17, 2012 | 1:57 pm

According to data released this week by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Reps. Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys) and Brad Sherman (D - Sherman Oaks) both raised significant amounts of money for their dueling campaigns for reelection in the 30th district.

With just seven weeks remaining before the two Jewish incumbent Democrats face off in a primary election, the Sherman campaign has just over $4 million in cash on hand. Berman’s campaign, although raising and spending money at a faster rate, has almost $2.5 million to spend.

The messages were optimistic from the campaigns of both congressmen.

Parke Skelton, Sherman’s campaign consultant, trumpeted the results in an email that included recent fundraising and Sherman’s internal polling data as well as data from August 2011. Sherman didn’t just lead Berman in money available, Skelton said. He had also netted more money over the months since the two reelection campaigns began in earnest.

“The numbers are pretty clear,” Skelton wrote. “The financial advantage enjoyed by Brad Sherman is widening, while, despite his massive spending, Berman has not closed the polling gap with Sherman at all.”

Brandon Hall, a senior adviser to the Berman campaign, saw his side’s spending as a positive attribute.

“We’ve already knocked on the door of every likely voter—regardless of party—introducing Congressman Berman to areas of the 30th district he hasn’t represented before,” Hall said in an emailed statement. “Given our proven ability to raise money at a rapid pace, we are confident our fundraising strength will continue once we successfully navigate the Primary Election.”

Berman has been raising funds at a rapid clip—Berman spoke at a star-studded fundraiser on Sunday night—but for the last decade, Sherman has represented about 60 percent of the new 30th district. Only 16 percent of the new district’s voters were in Berman’s old district, leaving Berman with the additional challenge of meeting and appealing to a district full of voters who are not familiar with him but are quite used to hearing about Sherman, who regularly hosts town halls in the district.

Under a new California law, the top-two vote getters in June, regardless of party, will advance to a run-off in November. Berman and Sherman are both expected to advance.

In addition to the funds Berman’s campaign has at its disposal, two independent expenditure committees supporting Berman’s campaign, known as Super PACs, released filings this week as well. One of the groups, the Committee to Elect an Effective Valley Congressman, received $210,000 in contributions in the first three months of the year.

Most of those funds came from just two donors: Mapleton Investments, an investment firm headed by Marc Nathanson, and Peter Lowy, a Westfield Executive who is also the Chairman of the Board of Tribe Media Corp., the nonprofit publisher of the Jewish Journal, each donated $100,000 to the Berman-backing Super PAC.

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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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