House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has endorsed California Rep. Howard Berman in his heated, redistricting-forced race with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman.
"Howard Berman is a highly-respected leader sought after by his colleagues from both parties for his expertise in both domestic and foreign policy, and world affairs," Hoyer said in a statement posted to Berman's campaign Facebook page. "Howard Berman is respected by both Republicans and Democrats because of his approach as a legislator and decency as an individual. It would be a great loss to the country if Howard Berman did not return to serve in the Congress of the United States."
Party leaders are often hesitant to get involved in contests between two incumbents from the same party, and indeed this endorsement comes with less than two weeks to go. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has remained publicly neutral, even as a majority of the California delegation from both parties has sided with Berman.
Berman and Sherman were drawn into the same San Fernando Valley-area district and are now facing off in the general election thanks to California's new "jungle" primary system. Sherman is favored because of his geographic advantage — he currently represents far more of the new district than does Berman — while Berman has played up his work and support on Capitol Hill.
Tensions are running high, as one Member will likely have the district for as long as he wants it and the other won't be returning to Congress in 2013.