UPDATE 2:25 A.M. Wednesday: The following statement was issued by Rep. Howard Berman at 1:54 a.m., conceding the 30th Congressional District race to Rep. Brad Sherman:
“Brad Sherman will be the next Congressman from the 30th Congressional District. I congratulate Brad and my friend Tony Cardenas who will have the honor and solemn responsibility of representing the San Fernando Valley in the 113th Congress. I wish both of them the best of luck and the wisdom and strength to confront and overcome the challenges that face our nation. I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition.”
UPDATE 11:45 P.M.: Both Rep. Brad Sherman and Rep. Howard Berman addressed their supporters at their respective returns-viewing parties, but neither gave a victory or concession speech.
That's because returns are slow coming in. Due to heavy fog conditions in Norwalk, where the registrar is tabulating ballots, helicopters carrying the ballots from various precincts cannot land and deliver their cargo.
In the meantime, crowds at both candidate's parties have thinned considerably.
UPDATE 10:20 P.M.: Rep. Brad Sherman took an early lead tonight over fellow Democrat Rep. Howard Berman in the hotly contested 30th Congressional District race.
At Berman's post-election party at his campaign headquarters, a crowd of about 150 grew silent to listen to President Obama deliver his victory speech. Berman is expected to address the crowd gathered in the makeshift office, located in a small strip mall on Ventura Boulevard in Encino. The Congressman declined to venture to the podium about half an hour ago, opting to wait for more returns before addressing supporters.
Meanwhile, Brad Sherman and between 300-350 of his supporters are gathered at The Gate Mediterranean restaurant, also in Encino. Attendees expect him to address the crowd there after the president's victory speech.
City News Service reports Rep. Brad Sherman took a wide early lead tonight over fellow Democrat Rep. Howard Berman in a hotly contested 30th Congressional District race.
"Berman led Sherman by 17 percentage points in the redrawn district, with 58.5 percent of voters backing him in early returns," CNS reported.
The crowd of about 150, down from a high of more than 200, at the Berman headquarters, grew silent to listen to President Obama speak just minutes ago. Speculation here is that Berman will address the crowd gathered in the makeshift office, located in a small strip mall on Ventura Boulevard in Encino. The Congressman declined to venture to the podium about half an hour ago, opting to wait for more returns before addressing supporters.
Meanwhile, Brad Sherman and his supporters are gathered at The Gate Mediterranean restaurant, also in Encino. Those in attendance have been tight lipped about election reesults so far.
UPDATE 11:10 A.M.: Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman cast their votes at their neighborhood polling places this morning.
Berman filled out his ballot at the Shaarey Zedek Congregation on Chandler Boulevard in Valley Village, and Sherman brought his family as he dropped off his ballot at Horace Heidt Estates on Magnolia Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. (See photo gallery)
While standing in line to cast his ballot, Sherman addressed a question about Democrats battling one another in the primaries.
"The question is not whether it makes for a better campaign, but whether it makes for a better government," he said.
In Valley Village, Berman spoke about the heated campaign, saying it was a "fair statement" that this was the toughest election race of his political career.
"My guess is we're [Berman and Sherman] not going to be the closest of friends, but the fact is that we have elections, they're heated, and life goes on and you work things through," he said.
* * * * *
Thanks to some recent changes in California politics, voters in the 30th Congressional District will choose between two unlikely—though fairly similar—opponents when polling begins Tuesday morning. Despite the candidates' similarities—or perhaps because of them—the campaign, dubbed the "Berman-Sherman" race, has been a contentious one.
When the state redrew its political districts following the 2010 census, it combined areas previously represented by two congressmen, leaving just one spot over which Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, both sitting congressmen, are duking it out.
And though "duking it out" is figurative, it is so just barely. Amid a climate of accusations of expensive trips on the taxpayers' dime and missed votes from one side and of pocketing campaign money from the other, things got physical at an Oct. 11 Pierce College debate in Woodland Hills. Tempers flared while the candidates argued over whether Berman helped author the DREAM act, culminating in Sherman grabbing Berman.
But in years past, despite the redistricting, the two longtime members of Congress (Berman has served since 1982 and Sherman has been a member of the House since 1997) would never have faced one another on Election Day, both being Democrats.
The nearly $14 million faceoff (numbers are per Politico.com) is the result of California's new "top two" primary system wherein the top two vote getters at the primary level move on to the actual election, regardless of party affiliation. Sherman gathered 42 percent of the vote vs. Berman's 32 percent.
In addition to their affiliation—and their rhyming names—the candidates' stances on many issues are similar. They even started off similarly, both born and raised in Southern California. Though years apart (Berman is 71; Sherman is 57), they both attended UCLA and went on to become lawyers.
Both voted in favor of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Jobs and the economy are priorities for both; Both serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They support close US-Israeli relations and support instituting and enforcing sanctions against Iran in efforts to stop its nuclear program, according to statements the candidates provided to the Jewish Journal. The difference, the Journal says, is in how they would implement solutions.
Patch will update this article throughout the day with developments and reports from the candidates' results-viewing parties, and we'll let you know when "Berman-Sherman" has been determined. We welcome your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.