Rep. Sherman Tops Rep. Berman in Calif. Dem Primary

In California's most competitive Democrat-vs.-Democrat primary, Brad Sherman has landed the first punch.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Rep. Sherman topped Rep. Howard Berman by 42 percent to 32 percent in their top-two primary for California's newly drawn 30th Congressional District in the Los Angeles area.

Both will appear on the ballot in November, thanks to California's primary system, in which the top to candidates advance, regardless of party.

The race is a caricature of legislative redistricting's political consequences. After the 2010 Census and redistricting process, California's new legislative map forced these two relatively longstanding-and politically similar-Democrats to run against each other for a newly drawn Los Angeles-area district, after holding neighboring congressional seats and voting with each other often on Democratic legislation.

Berman, who has served in Congress since 1983, is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Sherman has served since 1997. They agree on nearly every broad issue, a fact highlighted by a debate performance in which they effectively paraphrased each other's stances.

More notable for a race between two similar candidates, even in as expensive a media market as Los Angeles, their campaigns have spent a combined $5.7 million trying to sway voters, according to Federal Election Commission filings through May 16.

That total will grow as we approach November, with Sherman rating as the favorite after Tuesday's primary vote.