Senior GOP Senators Back Democrat Berman in House Race

Monday, 10 Sep 2012 10:32 AM

By Dan Weil

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Powerful Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina are backing Democratic California Rep. Howard Berman in his pitched general election battle against fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., also is endorsing Berman, Politico reports. The two Democrats were thrown into the same race in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley by redistricting.

California began a unique primary system this year, which entails that the two candidates with the highest number of votes, regardless of their party, face off in the general election.

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As a result, Berman and Sherman are now scrounging for Republican votes. Berman, a top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has been touting his strong support of Israel. And he hopes that the support from McCain, Graham, and Lieberman will make him more appealing to conservative voters.

The retiring Lieberman said in a statement, “San Fernando Valley residents can also count on Howard to fight to keep our ally Israel safe.”

In a statement, McCain complimented Berman as “smart, tenacious, and someone who has a record of bipartisan accomplishment and effectiveness.” Graham said Berman “understands how to reach across the aisle to get things done on behalf of our nation.”

Berman trailed Sherman by 10 percentage points in the primary, and strategists view him as the underdog. But he has won the endorsement race, scoring support from almost all of California’s congressional delegation and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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