The San Fernando Valley battle between Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman will likely be far from California's only showdown between congressional incumbents next year.
A POLITICO story published today reports that nearly one third of the state's 53 House members could find themselves facing a fellow incumbent in 2012 under the new district maps created by the Citizens Redistricting Commission:
California political players say they can't remember a time in the state's history when so many of its House lawmakers were poised to run against one another.
"It's totally unprecedented," said Ben Tulchin, a San Francisco-based Democratic pollster who works for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. "It has never happened at this scale anywhere in the country that I can think of."
As for what party leaders can do to avoid the strife -- and cost -- of contests between incumbents from the same party? Not much, says California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton.
"I mean, what are you going to do?" Burton told POLITICO. "There are a few things you can't do in life. You can't tell people whether or not to run for office and you can't tell them who to marry."
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