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FRIDAY REPORT / An in-depth look at people and policies
shaping Los Angeles County | Local Elections / 24th
Congressional District

Brad Sherman (D) vs. Randy Hoffman (R)

October 09, 1998

Voters are sure to be bombarded with campaign mail in this hard-fought district, where frustrated Republicans have taken aim at first-term Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks).

Wealthy businessman Randy Hoffman is the GOP standard-bearer. He expects help from such high-profile Republican leaders as Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle, despite his sometimes maverick views: He supports abortion rights and wants to ban assault weapons.

The announcement of Hoffman's endorsement by Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, however, was overshadowed by big local news that day--the death of Riordan's popular predecessor, Tom Bradley.

Sherman, a former member of the State Board of Equalization, pumped some of his own money into the race to win two years ago in a district that went for Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 1994 and picked President Bill Clinton by a wide margin in 1996.

"He's a freshman in a competitive district, but things are going very well for us in that campaign," said Olivia Morgan of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Todd Harris, her counterpart at the National Republican Congressional Committee, has a different take on the race, seeing Hoffman as "one of our best chances in the country to knock off" a Democratic incumbent.

Crime and the environment are strong issues in the San Fernando Valley district, which also slices into Ventura County.

Voters in this affluent, politically moderate district chose liberal Democrat Tony Beilenson twice to represent them in Congress, but he barely won reelection in 1994 and decided not to seek reelection in 1996, the year Sherman triumphed over Republican Rich Sybert in an expensive contest.

Registration is 45% Democratic to 38% Republican.

Other candidates are Libertarian Erich D. Miller, Natural Law Party nominee Catherine Carter and Ralph Shroyer of the Peace and Freedom Party.

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