Reps. Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a candidates forum early this year.

Reps. Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a candidates forum early this year. (Los Angeles Times / December 11, 2012)

To no surprise of San Fernando Valley voters who were inundated with campaign ads, robo calls and political mail, Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman set a record for spending by candidates in a California congressional race — shelling out more than $11.7 million between them, according to new campaign finance reports.

When spending by outside groups is added, the total outlay in the bitter contest won by Sherman was $16.3 million, making it one of the most expensive congressional races in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.

Although the Berman-Sherman race set a Golden State record for spending by the candidates, the San Diego County congressional race won by Democrat Scott Peters over Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray was the costliest in California — $16.8 million — because of the more than $8.7 million spent by outside groups, including the political parties.

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-- Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times