In Berman vs. Sherman, a debate over debating

Time appears to be on the side of Rep. Brad Sherman in his campaign against Rep. Howard Berman, one of the nation's most expensive and closely watched elections because it pits two veteran Democrats against each other. Berman has collected armfuls of endorsements, including from The Times, but the district's geography favors Sherman, and he continues to lead in the polls.

Berman's campaign tried to stir some controversy into the final days by suggesting that Sherman is ducking debates; he's turned down invitations to two events. In a statement, Brandon Hall, senior advisor to the Berman campaign, accused Sherman of having "crept into his bunker," where he "remains in hiding."

It's worth noting, however, that the candidates have met on more than a dozen occasions, including one that featured a mild physical dustup on Oct. 11, when Sherman handled Berman gruffly and a sheriff's deputy gently pulled them apart. (Here's what that looked like.) They also are scheduled to appear by phone on Warren Olney's radio program Monday afternoon on KCRW.

ENDORSEMENTS: The Times' recommendations for Nov. 6

Despite an aggressive campaign and lots of spending, polls have steadily given the edge to Sherman. The Sherman campaign cites public and private polls in recent weeks that give Sherman a double-digit lead. And John Schwada, the campaign's press secretary, said Monday that Sherman camp had "considerable confidence" going into the last days.


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