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Joe the Plumber wins in Ohio; he is now an official contender

March 07, 2012|By Amy Hubbard
  • Joe the Plumber, Samuel Wurzelbacher, was endorsed by Herman Cain, right, who campaigned with him last month in Ohio.
Joe the Plumber, Samuel Wurzelbacher, was endorsed by Herman Cain, right,… (Tony Dejak / Associated…)

Joe the Plumber has won again. You remember Joe. The Ohio man hurtled toward fame with that fateful 2008 encounter when, bald head shining and T-shirt slightly rumpled, he questioned Obama on small business taxes.

Like Mitt Romney, “Joe” -- Samuel Wurzelbacher -- didn’t set off any landslides Tuesday.

He won the GOP nomination in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District by a suck-in-your-gut slim margin: 51% to  48% for his opponent, auctioneer and real estate agent Steve Kraus.

It may have helped that Wurzelbacher had money on his side -- six times as much as Kraus. But now Wurzelbacher has a much larger obstacle in his path: Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.  

On Tuesday night, while most everyone was watching the GOP Super Tuesday races, Kaptur thoroughly whupped U.S. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, 58% to 38%.   

As The Times reported, the Ohio race was the first primary pitting two Democratic incumbents against each other after the redrawing of congressional district boundaries. The new district was Kaptur territory, with 47% of the Toledo electorate she has represented since 1983. 

Pundits say Wurzelbacher’s race against Kaptur could be a tough one for the political newbie. 

It’s been an interesting road for Joe the Plumber since 2008 and that encounter with Obama. Despite the fame he gained, it’s an interview he says he regrets.

On his campaign website, Wurzelbacher says: “If I had known what I know now, I might have kept my mouth shut.... I lost my job as a plumber because of that interview.” News came out not long afterward that Wurzelbacher didn’t have a license to do plumbing. At the time, according to MSNBC, he said he didn’t need one.

On Wednesday morning, Twitter comments were tending toward the negative on the Joe the Plumber win, with snide remarks including “Cue the circus music!”; “Are you KIDDING me?”; and “Ohio=stuck on stupid.”

Still, Wurzelbacher made some surprising strides over the course of his campaign, gaining the backing of Herman Cain, who campaigned for him in Ohio. Arguably, that's not bad for Toledo’s most famous non-plumbing plumber.

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