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A press release from Rep. Brad Sherman popped into my inbox last week, touting several new endorsements. One popped out at me in particular:

That second bullet point caught my attention because Sherman's primary rival in the 30th District, fellow Rep. Howard Berman, had already scooped up the support of almost every Democratic member of the House in California. I didn't think Rep. Loretta Sanchez had been one of those last few undecideds, but I figured my memory must be wrong—there are, after all, 34 Democratic members of Congress in the Golden State. So when I wrote this item up, I framed it as Sanchez coming off the fence.

But then I received an email from Berman's communications director, who pointed out the following endorsement on her boss's website:

Evidently, I should have trusted my instincts, but regardless, you see the problem here. I wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery, but because Sanchez doesn't face a competitive election this year, she doesn't really have much of a campaign staff. So the Berman campaign suggested I contact Sanchez's congressional chief-of-staff, Adrienne Elrod. That's what I did, several times, by both phone and email. Elrod, however, refused to return my calls or respond to my emails asking for a response to a very simple question:
Who did Loretta Sanchez endorse in CA-30?
There are several things that may have happened here. One is that Sanchez switched sides and failed to inform the Berman folks. That strikes me as unlikely, though, because that would have been a small coup for Sherman—yet his press release didn't tout her endorsement as a shift from Berman, which is typically what you'd do in these circumstances. Another possibility is that Sanchez decided to endorse both men—something that's not unheard-of (unions sometimes do this), though typically you'd announce both endorsements at the same time. And finally, it may well be that the Sherman campaign somehow screwed this one up and that they didn't actually earn Sanchez's endorsement after all.

I'd love to know the answer, but the people who can confirm this one way or another just aren't saying.

9:38 AM PT: Just this instant, I received an email from Elrod: "The Congresswoman is friends with and is supportive of both Mr. Berman and Mr. Sherman, but in this race, she has endorsed Mr. Berman."

10:02 AM PT: But wait! I just received a PDF of this "endorsement card" from a Brad Sherman consultant, apparently signed by Loretta Sanchez:

Berman endorsement card from Sanchez
It's hard to imagine Sanchez didn't realize what she was signing—this card is about as explicit as you can get (and is clearly the kind of thing a campaign uses precisely to avoid any misunderstandings, or so you'd think). So what happened here? Did Sanchez go back on her word?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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