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Fast Forward

First Rabbi In Congress? Not in 2018

Rabbi Robert Barr set out in October to become America’s first rabbi in Congress.

This week, he ended his race.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Reform rabbi from Cincinnati announced his withdrawal from the race, claiming that he is doing so in order to make room for Aftab Pureval, an up-and-coming local Democrat considered to have a better chance of defeating four-term incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Chabot.

“My campaign was motivated by the same belief that drew me to become a rabbi,” Barr said in his statement. “The belief that each of us needs to leave our world better than we found it, and I will continue to do my part,”

Barr’s 10-week-long campaign managed to raise more funds than his rivals and won praise from the Democratic establishment. The communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Meredith Kelly, said Barr’s “values-driven and competitive campaign helped put this district in play and expand the map.”

Contact Nathan Guttman at or on Twitter @nathanguttman




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