WASHINGTON (JTA) — New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who at times would cite Torah on the campaign trail, is out of the race to be the Democratic presidential nominee.
“It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t continue if there was no longer a path to victory,” Booker said Monday in an email to supporters, saying he simply did not have the funds to stay in the race less than a month ahead of the first nominating contest, in Iowa.
Booker has been deeply involved with the Jewish community since his days as a Rhodes scholar in the 1990s at Oxford University, where he co-chaired a Jewish studies group.
Booker, a Baptist, has showed off his Hebrew in public events for years.
Asked how his faith influenced his policy at a CNN town hall last March, Booker contrasted himself with President Donald trump, saying his faith embraced diversity.
“May I quote some Hebrew to you, cause I’ve studied the Torah too,” he said. “There’s a song sung during the High Holidays: ‘Ki veiti beit t’fila yikareh l’chol ha’amim’ — ‘May my house be a house of prayer for many nations.’”
Booker, who made gun control, closing the income gap and criminal justice reform central planks of his campaign, was a foreign policy centrist. He was close to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and was one of just a few of Democrats running for president who said he would not automatically rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned in 2018.