Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman is leading fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman by 39.6 percent to 33.1 percent with absentee ballots counted after polls closed on Tuesday. The numbers were accurate as of 11:17 p.m. with 8.81 percent of precincts reporting. (Update: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Sherman led by exactly 10 points at 42.4 percent. See results for the 30th District race here.)
The Democratic lawmakers are vying for one seat in the newly drawn District 30, which means both candidates will compete in the November election.
The state's new election system allows the first and second place primary finishers, irrespective of their party membership, to compete in the election this fall.
Both Sherman and Berman are center-left Democrats. But while the two men have been described as maintaing similar political views, the former allies have attacked each other's records for several weeks now in a mudslinging campaign.
Sherman has argued that he has a track record of fiscal responsibility, stating that he worked to block the original TARP bill under President Bush and saved the country over $400 billion. He also called out Berman, whom he characterized as a career politician, for taking free trips subsidized by private interest groups and using a taxpayer-subsidized car.
Berman's campaign has shot back and accused Sherman of running a negative campaign, an accusation that has been made by both camps.
"In sixteen years in Congress, Sherman has only authored three bills that have become law and two of those were naming post offices," Berman campaign manager Brandon Hall said in an emailed statement about a campaign that alleged Berman charged taxpayers $186,000 to lease a car. "All he can do is go negative."