UPDATE (9:12 A.M.): Democratic Congressman Howard Berman conceded to Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman just before 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. In a statement, Berman congratulated his opponent, as well as Tony Cardenas who won the 29th district.
“I wish both of them the best of luck and the wisdom and strength to confront and overcome the challenges that face our nation,” said Berman. “I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition.”
Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman led Democratic Congressman Howard Berman by 19 percent with 10 percent of precincts reported early this morning.
Dense fog prevented a helicopter from delivering ballots to a registrar’s office in the city of Norwalk, which left both candidates waiting longer for results. Sherman had 59.4 percent of the votes while Berman only had 40.6 percent.
“I don’t know how this will turn out,” Berman said at an Encino campaign site Tuesday night. “If we win, we celebrate. If we lose, we can be disappointed for a while, but don’t disengage.”
Both Democratic representatives were pitted against each other following the redistricting of the 30th district based on 2010 Census data. Although Berman has been endorsed by some big names and organizations, including President Barack Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Los Angeles Times, Sherman took the lead in the primaries and consistently rated higher in the polls.
Their similar voting records and stances on hot button issues such as immigration, education and healthcare set the stage for heated debates, personal attacks and, during an Oct. 11 debate at Pierce College, a physical confrontation.
“I didn’t go into politics to run against Howard Berman,” said Sherman Tuesday night. “It has been a humbling experience to seek the support of the San Fernando Valley.”
Both incumbents have backed initiatives that benefited college students. Sherman voted for the College Cost Reduction Act, which kept student loans from doubling, while Berman voted to increase funding for students receiving Pell Grants.
Among Berman’s crowd about 200 supporters, CSUN student Melissa Realegeno attended the rally at her first election.
“It’s very nice,” said Realegeno. “I like to see the energy of politics, who’s in it and who’s involved.”
She said she was concerned about the fate of the state propositions, especially Proposition 30 which she felt was directly related to the future of her education.
“I read the pros and cons and made sure I knew what I was voting for,” she said. “I think it’s very important for students to be politically active.”