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Samara "Sam" Barend was the 2004 Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 29th Congressional district of New York State. She lost with 41 percent of the vote against Conservative Mark Assini and the winner, Republican Randy Kuhl, in the race to succeed the retiring Amo Houghton.[1]

At 26 years old, Barend would have been the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Barend, who had never run for public office before, raised more than $750,000 in her contest against a Randy Kuhl, a Republican state senator who served in the NY State Assembly and Senate for more than 25 years. The heavily Republican nature of the 29th district, covering the Southern Tier in rural upstate New York, worked against her. Barend was also hurt when she failed to fire campaign manager Jonah Siegellak after it was revealed he leaked to the media documents relating to Kuhl's divorce. Barend's campaign first denied any involvement in the leak of the supposedly court-sealed documents.

Barend was a featured candidate in several major Internet sources including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's blog, The Stakeholder[2] and in the female candidates profiles section on the website of the Democratic "527" ActBlue[3].

Prior to the campaign, Barend was best known for her congressional staff work in bringing a major interstate highway, Interstate 86, to the "Southern Tier" area of New York state, in an attempt to revitalize the lagging economy of the region. Barend was working at the time as a staff member to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan and former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Barend grew up in Vestal. She has an older sister Beth, who is a science teacher in Indiana. She also has an older brother Dave, who is an appellate criminal defense attorney in the Boston area.

According to an article in the August edition of The Kennedy School of Governments's monthly magazine published by Harvard University, "At 19, she undertook a long-dormant plan to convert New York State Route 17 into Interstate 86. At 22, she founded Minds of Steel, a non-profit organization that promoted the benefit of physical fitness in addressing mental illness."

Since 2005, Barend has been governmental affairs director for engineering and consulting firm STV Group, Inc. and director of her nonprofit Minds of Steel in Vestal. Barend has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania with an individualized major in governing complex organizations (1999) and a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (2004). Barend was named a member of the 1999 USA TODAY All-USA Academic Team.

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