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Campaigns & Elections Analyzes California Congressional Race, 30th District (the Berman-Sherman Race)

Published on November 26, 2012, by in General.

Campaigns & Elections has this essay by Sean J. Miller analyzing the California 30th U.S. House race. This is the race between two incumbent Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, who were put into the same district by redistricting. They placed first and second in the June 2012 primary and carried on a very intense, personal fight in the general election.

The article illustrates what is wrong with the theory of top-two supporters, that when there are two members of the same party in the November election, and no one else, members of the other major party can determine the winner, and therefore the winner will be a “moderate.” Both congressmen generally agreed on the big national issues, but Congressman Berman was known for his ability to work with Republican members of Congress, so his advertising tried to make that point, and to attract Republican voters. But the more he talked about his endorsement from Republicans, such as Senator John McCain, the more that persuaded liberals and Democrats that Berman didn’t deserve their vote.

The Sherman-Berman race is not an example of how top-two changed the winner in California. Even without top-two, Sherman still would have won the race, but he would have done so in the June Democratic primary, and the amount of money spent on this race would have been less. Thanks to Nancy Hanks for the link.

6 Responses

  1. Joseph McNiesh

    How much is C&E? I remember buting it once at B&N for about $8. I thought of starting a consulting firm using my computer skills (MS Access), but, when I looked in the back, many such firms exist. Maybe I stay local.

  2. Jim Riley

    The article said that Berman spent too much in the primary, and then ran dry in the general election. Under the old partisan primary system, he would/should have spent it all in the primary, and then would have easily replenished it with enough for the general election. Or perhaps he would have found another district.

    Berman was first elected in 1982, when he received just short of 3/5 of the vote. By the 90s he was easily winning 2/3 of the vote, and by the 00s he was getting close to 2/3 of the vote, when the Republicans bothered to put up an opponent. He had likely forgotten how to campaign, and voters in the new district (Sherman had represented 2/3 of it) probably thought of Berman as this old dude who had been in office forever (he was in the Assembly for 10 years before his 30 years of congressional service).

    It is quite possible that this was simply another of throw the old incumbents out such as occurred to Fortney Stark, Joe Baca, and Laura Richardson, of which only two were the result of pairing two incumbents. It is quite likely that Stark and Baca would have survived a partisan primary challenge, or the challengers would not have even bothered.

  3. Be Rational

    What this shows is that under “top two” there is really a one party system where voters have no real choice in the election. Eventually, if “top two” is allowed to stand in CA, and spreads to other states, all elections will be like this one with two nearly identical candidates, no choices, the end of free elections and the end of liberty in America.

  4. El Chupacabra

    How can anyone still defend this insane system in the face of such overwhelming evidence?

  5. El Chupacabra

    How can anyone still defend this insane system in the face of such overwhelming evidence?

  6. El Chupacabra

    The comment so nice I had to post it twice. Actually, I don’t know how that happened.

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