Israeli candidate loses Congressional race

The only Israeli citizen running for a seat in the US congress fails to force a run-off against the incumbent.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
May 30, 2012 09:30
1 minute read.
Israeli candidate for Congress

Israeli candidate for Congress. (photo credit: Itamar Gelbman)

 
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Israel will not have one of its own in the US Congress after Itamar Gelbman, who was raised in Herzliya, failed to force a run-off race against incumbent Joe Barton in the Republican primary of Texas's sixth Congressional district.

With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Barton had won 63 percent of the vote, well over the 51% he needed to avoid a run-off race against the second-place finisher. Barton will face off against a Democratic challenger on November 6.

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According to preliminary results, Joe Chow, a businessman who was a local mayor, finished second with 20% of the vote. Accountant Frank Kuchar finished third with 11%. Gelbman rounded out the pack with six percent, winning less than 2000 votes.

Gelbman was born in New York 30 years ago and as a child moved with his parents to Herzliya, where he was raised. He studied business management and computer science at Tel Aviv University and served as an undercover reserve officer in the Tel Aviv Police District.

Eight years ago, he moved to Texas. After US President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Gelbman decided to get involved in politics. At first he wanted to volunteer for a politician, but he did not like the current crop of politicians where he lives.

“I didn’t like what I saw, so I decided to step up and run myself,” he said.

Though Gelbman bills himself as the “first American-Israeli running for US Congress,” current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose father was born in Jerusalem and served in the Irgun, was in Congress from 2002 to 2009.

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“Rahm Emanuel isn’t Israeli,” Gelbman said. “He never lived in Israel, and never served in the IDF. His father is Israeli.”

Gelbman received national attention when Muslims in his district were offended by his campaign flyer in which vowed to “fight the Islamization of America.”

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