'Joe the Plumber' launches bid for Congress
October 25th, 2011
09:51 PM ET
11 years ago

'Joe the Plumber' launches bid for Congress

(CNN) - Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber," kicked off his congressional campaign Tuesday night, hoping to win over an Ohio House seat for the GOP.

"Our current system is all about control. It needs to be fixed," Wurzelbacher said. "They keep on putting duct tape on it. I'm not the kind of plumber that uses duct tape."

Wurzelbacher gained GOP rock-star status in 2008 after challenging then-presidential candidate and Sen. Barack Obama on his small-business tax plan.

His confrontation quickly became a popular anecdote in the presidential election, frequently used as a campaign message by the Republican Sen. John McCain and running-mate Sarah Palin.

The plumber-turned-celebrity has since capitalized on his fame by writing a book and making multiple media and campaign appearances.

While he turned down a chance to run for office in 2010, he's now challenging Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving Democratic woman in the House, to represent Ohio's 9th congressional district.

Making his announcement at Tony Packo's, a Hungarian restaurant in Toledo, the candidate said he's confident of a win, as said he knows how to "keep it simple."

"I don't have to remember what I said five years ago because I believe it. That's what it comes down to," he said. "They're not going to catch me in a lie. I'm not concerned about that at all. You've got to keep it simple and that's what it comes down to running for Congress."

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • House of Representatives • Joe the plumber • Ohio
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. TM

    Where's his birth certificate? If it doesn't say that "Joe" is his real first name then it MUST be a fake, and he's actually from Kenya and therefore can't run for office, right? And since when is "Wurzelbacher" pronounced "Plumber"?

    October 25, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Don

    Hasn't he realized his fifteen minutes are up?

    October 25, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. azmary

    From the man whose "story" we were fed in 2008, comes the statement 'They are not going to catch me in a lie'. So was the tale of buying the plumbing business, the name Joe, etc. not a lie? Come on Republicans there must be at least one other better choice than "Joe the Plumber" in the state of Ohio.

    October 25, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Does the GOP/Tea Party care whether or not their candidates have the experience, education, or knowledge to be in Congress?

    October 25, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. Nich

    For the American electorate-, yes, things must be kept simple. The real world, however, involves a little more nuance.

    October 25, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  6. Jake

    He's already lying. He's not a plumber. Has he paid his taxes yet? I say run for office and i welcome more uneducated tax dodging republicans to do the same. A whole field of joe the republican tax dodgers running for office under the republican name...As one american celebrity would say...."it's a good thing" Looks like a sweep for the Democrats in 2012 and i like the sounds of that. OBAMA 2012.

    October 25, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. T in Dallas

    Now I know this country has gone crazy if this tax dodging, no business owning, lying to the world, and no show when called upon by his buddy Dopey McCain is running for office!

    October 25, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  8. Loathstheright

    Proving just how completely stupid anyone voting for him is.

    October 25, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. Libby


    October 25, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. zip

    Oh great, now my dog thinks he has a shot.

    October 25, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. Terry

    Plumber Joe now realizes that the US Congress and Senate is the place to make real money. Each member of Congress and the Senate has received millions of dollars in campaign donations from Corporate America. Forget the $175,000 salary, with health benefits and a pension for life – get Corporate America to buy your vote – that is where the real money will come from, just ask the other Members of Congress. Good Luck Joe! Break the Bank!

    October 25, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    Oh thank goodness; we needed some good comedy relief in this election. I wonder what his opponent will challenge him on:
    His qualifications as a plumber? I don't think he was ever licensed.
    His broad vision of government and policy? The mind reels.
    Maybe she'll hit him on his tenuous grip on reality.

    Somebody give him a microphone and turn him loose! It should be great for laughs.

    October 25, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. Rob D.

    Another loony in Congress, oh great.

    October 25, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. allens

    another republican

    October 25, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. Joshua Ludd

    Yeah, except the lie about being a plumber, buying that business he asked Obama about.. oh, and of course his name isn't even Joe.

    October 25, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  16. TomNPitt

    He's not really a plumber, and never has been! "They're not going to catch me in a lie".
    He's Bald – not Balding!! It always bugs me when guys shave their heads, like it was a choice and not just eventual!!

    October 25, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  17. Halcyon

    Isn't the problem that we already have too many simpletons in Congress? Why do we need another?

    October 25, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  18. phelonius

    hi, i'm homeless. but if you elect me president i can live at the white house and kick all the other bums out. i don't know anything about politics or running a government, heck, i don't even know how to read. but none of these other bums know what they're doing either. since the republicans like voting for movie stars, wrestlers and plumbers, i figured that would be my best bet. i running for president and i'm a republican, vote for me...and can i get a dollar (promise i won't buy booze).

    October 25, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  19. Jason in S.F.

    oh boy... this friggin guy is back to annoy the world. Save it Joe, If Ohio voters have an ounce of common sense you don't stand a chance. But that's a big "if".

    October 25, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  20. David in Denver

    Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,964 in Books

    If he's lucky, he'll rank higher than that in the Congressional race.....but I bet he withdraws before that.....

    October 25, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. c'mon america

    Joe the plumber would rather snub his nose at america and bring home about 32 thousand dollars per year vs. paying taxes and bringing home about 180 thousand a year . Oh ya , he's never heard of a tax man either . Real swift this fellow is .

    October 25, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  22. Clint, Wa.

    Sarah Palin is very well educated compared to this Moron, need to put duct tape on his mouth so we don’t have to listen to him.

    October 25, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  23. Greg

    Marcy Kaptur is a very smart fair woman is who NOT a career politician. The people of Toledo would be stupid to vote this dufus in in her place. Then again I lived in Toledo for 20 years and that town is full of stupid people.

    October 25, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  24. Michael Q

    Really! I mean, "REALLY!"

    October 25, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Larry L

    He's not any less qualified than the other Republican candidates. The Koch brothers prefer a bunch of uneducated losers to serve under them. The GOP sets the bar really, really low so they can manipulate politicians to take right-wing pledges, ignore critical issues and focus on hot-button social issues. It's their bread and butter.

    October 25, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
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