The weird saga of Joe the Plumber

Remember Joe the Plumber, whose brief casual interaction with candidate Barack Obama in 2008 shot him to stardom in Tea Party circles when John McCain repeatedly praised him in a subsequent debate?

Well, ‘Joe’ (whose real name is Samuel Wurzelbacher) parlayed his fame to gain the Republican nomination to run for Congress in the newly drawn Ohio’s 9th Congressional district (that extends all the way from Toledo to the west of Cleveland), running against long-time Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur.

After winning the nomination, Wurzelbacher has run an unusual campaign, to put it mildly, staying largely out of sight, skipping debates with his opponent and generally keeping a low-profile, upsetting local Republicans who seem to think that he is not serious. Wurzelbacher himself says that “politics suck” and that he hates it with a passion, not quite what you expect from a candidate running for an important public office.

He says that he is focused on door-to-door campaigning. He has raised and spent a lot less money than his opponent and as of September 30, had just $8,000 left.

However the Tea Party Express has endorsed him. In 2010 it had a track record of successfully endorsing extreme candidates in the Republican primaries for US senate seats (Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharon Angle in Nevada, and Joe Miller in Alaska) who then went on to lose in the general election to their opponents. Joe the Plumber seems likely to join them.


  1. machintelligence says

    I think you missed Ken Buck (Tea Party Republican) losing to Michael Bennett(D) in Colorado for US senate in 2010. Actually the (almost) bigger story was the governor’s race. The Tea Party endorsed candidate, Dan Maes, was so bad that he only received just over 11% of the popular vote. If it had been less than 10% the Republican party would have dropped to minor party status for the next election.

    Party Candidate Votes % ±%
    Democratic John Hickenlooper 912,005 51.01%
    Constitution Tom Tancredo 651,232 36.43%
    Republican Dan Maes 199,034 11.13%
    Libertarian Jaimes Brown 13,314 0.74%
    Independent Jason R. Clark 8,576 0.48%
    Independent Paul Fiorino 3,483 0.19%

  2. baal says

    Tea party candidate = someone I wouldn’t trust to enter my house. Nice to hear that ‘joe’ is likely to go down in flames.

  3. Aratina Cage says

    Joe Miller was the closest thing to a Nazi I’ve ever seen in Alaskan/US politics with his very own gang of thugs who followed him around beating up reporters. Alaskans came through and rallied against him, though, with a write-in campaign for Lisa Murkowski that worked.

  4. says

    I never knew that he went into campaigning till i saw this. Read some blogs saying he is dead. Kinda of awesome thinking someone of the same trade managed to go into politics.

    Wish i could the same. Door visiting beats clear shat out anytime 🙂

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