- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — “Joe the Plumber” is launching his bid for Congress.

A county Republican official told the Associated Press that Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher, the man who became a household name after questioning then-Sen. Barack Obama about his economic policies during the 2008 presidential campaign, will make his announcement Tuesday night.

Lucas County GOP Chairman Jon Stainbrook said Mr. Wurzelbacher will appeal to people who are tired of politics as usual in Washington

Mr. Wurzelbacher already has filed the paperwork to run for Congress and has set up a campaign website to raise money.

Mr. Wurzelbacher’s statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Election Commission earlier this month says he plans to run as a Republican in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District.

The seat now is held by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving Democratic woman in the House. She’s expected to face a primary challenge from Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich after Ohio’s redrawn congressional map combined their two districts into one that appears heavily tilted toward Democrats.

Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost, who had announced he would seek the GOP nomination, dropped out last week, clearing the way for Mr. Wurzelbacher, who recently launched the website www.joeforcongress2012.com.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, 37, is now an icon for many anti-establishment conservatives and has built a national following that should help him raise money if he runs.

He’s also written a book, worked with a veterans organization that provides outdoor programs for wounded soldiers, and traveled the country speaking at tea party rallies and conservative gatherings.

He’s shown a disdain for politicians — both Democrat and Republican.

“Being a politician is as good as being a weatherman,” Mr. Wurzelbacher said at a tea party rally last year in Nevada. “You don’t have to be right, you don’t have to do your job well, but you’ll still have a job.”

Mr. Wurzelbacher went from toiling as a plumber in suburban Toledo three years ago to media sensation in a matter of days.

After Mr. Wurzelbacher questioned Mr. Obama about his economic policies, Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential candidate, repeatedly cited “Joe the Plumber” in a presidential debate. Mr. Wurzelbacher campaigned with Mr. McCain and his running mate, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but he criticized Mr. McCain in his book and said he did not want him as the GOP presidential nominee.

Mr. Wurzelbacher also became a target for Democrats.

Ohio’s former human services director and others were accused of misusing state computers to illegally access his personal information. A judge dismissed a lawsuit Mr. Wurzelbacher filed that said his rights were violated.

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