Congressman's Dilemma: Two Veteran Democrats Drawn Into Same California DistrictJune 16th, 2011 7:24 pm National Memo
It’s something of a prisoner’s dilemma, and the surest sign yet that the independent California Citizens Redistricting Committee didn’t take into account politics when deciding on new district boundaries. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, two long-serving Jewish Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (Berman is the ranking minority member), have been drawn into the same district.
Either man could avoid facing the other in a primary by running instead in a neighboring heavily Hispanic district, but it’s in neither man’s best interest to do so. Instead, they’ve both laid their claim to the new district and seem headed for a bloody primary battle. And it probably won’t end with the primary, since California’s new primary system allows the two candidates with the greatest number of votes to run in the general election—even if they’re in the same party.
“The question they will have to ask each other is: Do they want to have a very expensive primary election and a very expensive general election?” said Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, a veteran congressman whose current Los Angeles-area district borders those of Berman and Sherman. “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”