Ohio's 'Joe the Plumber' plans to run for Congress

October 10, 2011 - 3:55 PM

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Joe the Plumber is plunging into politics.

The Ohio man who became a household name after questioning Barack Obama about his economic policies during the 2008 campaign has filed paperwork to run for Congress.

Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher's statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Elections Commission last week says he plans to run as a Republican in Ohio's 9th U.S. House district. The filing means a campaign committee can raise and spend funds on Wurzelbacher's behalf.

The seat is now held by Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving Democratic woman in the House.

Wurzelbacher rose out of obscurity in 2008 after questioning then-candidate Obama about his economic policies, leading the Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, to repeatedly cite "Joe the plumber" in a presidential debate.

Wurzelbacher later campaigned with McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin. He also wrote a book, spoke at conservative gatherings and has worked with a veterans' organization in Alaska that provides outdoor programs for wounded soldiers.

He has been an icon for many anti-establishment conservatives. He drew cheers at a tea party rally last year in Cincinnati when he told the crowd not to let "a bunch of liberal pansies" take away their rights.

His district, which was redrawn this year and stretches from Toledo to Cleveland, is heavily tilted toward Democrats. Republicans said this summer that they were recruiting Wurzelbacher to make a run, thinking he could raise enough money to mount a serious challenge.

Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost already has announced he's seeking the GOP nomination. Kaptur and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whose district in Cleveland was lumped into Katur's territory, will face each other in a Democratic primary.