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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."

Click here to read the full story.



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