The rough and tumble has already begun even though redistricting maps have not been finalized.
Democrats Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) and Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), with homes just blocks from each other, would end up living in the same district, setting up a battle for the same House seat. Sherman currently represents parts of Chatsworth.
The Washington Post says, "This could be a clash of the titans."
And POLITICO sees a political war ahead, reporting:
Sherman and Berman are longtime nemeses. Following the last round of redistricting, Sherman accused Berman and his brother, Democratic consultant Michael Berman, of orchestrating a redistricting plan that left him weak to a primary challenge from a Latino candidate and famously accused his fellow congressman of “stabb[ing] me in the back.” Now the two are pitted together in a San Fernando Valley-based seat–and it looks like a matchup could be on. Just hours after the map was released, Berman, a former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, released a statement vowing that “there is no question that I would want to continue representing” the area. The race would be a barnburner since Sherman has more than $3 million stockpiled.
“I’m not saying goodbye to anybody yet,” Sherman told the Glendale News-Press. “I think the maps are going to change massively.”
“I don’t see how we can get around this confrontation... ,” Richard Mullin, president of a Santa Monica-based public opinion research company, told the Jewish Journal.
Within hours of the release of the maps, City Councilman Tony Cardenas–who was just elected in March to a third term–announced his intention to run for a new congressional seat, which would be more than two-thirds Latino, and would pull largely from geographic areas currently represented by Sherman and Berman. (See attached maps and PDFs).
In a statement, Berman suggested that if the redistricting plans hold, he would choose to run in the West San Fernando Valley - Calabasas District:
"California's Citizens Redistricting Commission still has months of work and numerous public meetings ahead of them," Berman said. "Still, if the final districts look anything like the draft map released today, my home is squarely in the district it is calling 'West San Fernando Valley - Calabasas.' It's premature to make an official campaign announcement until district lines are finalized, however, there is no question that I would want to continue representing this community."
Sherman also seemed to be antcipating a showdown with Berman.
"It certainly means there will be a lot of battlefields in California," Sherman was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times.
The Citizens Redistricting Commission released early draft maps of new congressional, Assembly, state Senate and Board of Equalization district boundaries Friday. The new maps are based on 2010 census data and 23 public hearings the commission held across the state in recent months.
The commission's proposal includes a new East San Fernando Valley District, where no sitting members of Congress live, according to Cardenas's spokesman Josh Pulliam.
"Valley voters have entrusted me to represent them at the state and local level, and I've delivered on their priorities: good jobs and safer communities for our families," Cardenas said in a statement.
The new districts would be roughly divided by the 405 and 5 freeways, creating what the draft plan calls the East San Fernando Valley - Tujunga District and the West San Fernando Valley - Calabasas District. A small section of the East Valley district would cross the 405 into the Lake Balboa area, while the West Valley district would cross the 405 and run along both sides of the 101 Freeway corridor to the 170 Freeway.
The Los Angeles Times analyzed the possible redistricting and predicted it would cause trouble for Berman, who represents the 28th District:
The new maps promise to cause political migraines for a number of incumbents, including one of Los Angeles’ most enduring Democratic politicians, Howard L. Berman.
Berman could face a challenge from a well-known Latino if he runs in a more Latino east San Fernando Valley district carved from a chunk of the congressman’s current district, or a possible race against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in a new district that includes Berman’s home and extends through the west San Fernando Valley.
According to Berman's Web site, California's 28th congressional District, which he represents, spreads from the northern San Fernando Valley and includes San Fernando, Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City, Sylmar, and North Hollywood. The southernmost border follows Mulholland Drive, taking in Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Studio City, and the Hollywood Hills at the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Sherman's 27th congressional District extends in a horseshoe shape beyond the 170 Freeway on the east and dipping a bit beyond the 134 freeway on the south, to the Angeles National Forest on the north, part of Chatsworth on the west and just beyond the 101 freeway on the second leg south.
The growth of the Latino population in the proposed new eastern district–which would include Panorama City, San Fernando, and possibly Sunland–would be highly favorable to Cardenas, said Jaime Regalado, director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles. "But congressional seats don't open all that often, so this is going to be a horse race," Regalado said.
Cardenas, a Democrat, in 1996 became the first Latino to represent the San Fernando Valley in the California Legislature, where he served three terms.
Elected to the City Council in 2003 to represent District 6, which includes part of North Hollywood, he has championed business tax reform and has helped create the city's first Animal Cruelty Task Force within the Los Angeles Police Department. Cardenas was recently .
Cardenas chairs the city's Information Technology and Government Affairs Committee and is vice chairman of the Public Safety Committee.
"I was honored to be the Valley's first Latino legislator," Cardenas said Friday, "and I am humbled by this historic opportunity to be the first Latino to serve this beautiful and diverse community in Congress.''
City News Service contributed to this report