Joe the Plumber has filed paperwork to run for Congress as a Republican in Ohio's Ninth District -- home to two of the most liberal Democrats in Congress.
It will be an uphill battle, to say the least.
Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, had his five minutes of fame in 2008, when he attended a campaign event for then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and confronted Obama about his tax proposals: I'm getting ready to buy a [plumbing] company that makes $250 to $280,000 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?
Obama responded, I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody. His Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, dubbed Wurzelbacher Joe the Plumber to emphasize his everyman, middle-class credentials and used the exchange to portray Obama as an enemy of hardworking Americans.
Seeking Another 15 Minutes of Fame, or A Capitol Hill Job?
Wurzelbacher acknowledged in 2008 that his fame was unlikely to last beyond the hyper-partisan climate of the presidential campaign, calling himself a flash in the pan and a novelty. But now, it seems he has decided to capitalize on the similarly hyper-partisan climate of the 2012 campaign.
People are looking for jobs, and there's a certain amount of desperation in this part of the country, Roman Schroeder, a consultant to Wurzelbacher, told The New York Times on Monday. Joe thinks he can do a better job and wants to know if other people feel the same way.
Wurzelbacher will face one of two Democratic incumbents: Marcy Kaptur or Dennis Kucinich, both longtime members of Congress and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Kaptur and Kucinich are competing for the Democratic nomination after their seats were combined in redistricting.
The former Ninth District, which includes Toledo, has not elected a Republican since 1980. The 10th District, which includes Cleveland and is currently represented by Kucinich, last elected a Republican somewhat more recently, in 1994.
Running in Democratic Stronghold
The Ninth District is ranked D+10 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index, meaning a Democratic candidate would generally be expected to receive 10 percentage points more votes than the national average. The 10th District is ranked D+8.
Based both on past election results and on the Cook rankings, neither district is very likely to elect a Republican, especially a conservative Republican like Wurzelbacher. He is also at a disadvantage because of his lack of political experience, especially if his opponent ends up being Kaptur, who has served in Congress since 1983 and ranks 25th out of 435 House members in terms of seniority.
Since 2008, when he campaigned for McCain and his running mate, former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, Wurzelbacher has been outspoken about his conservative positions. He has spoken at several Tea Party events, including one in Cincinnati in 2010, at which he told Tea Partiers not to cave to a bunch of liberal pansies.
Schroeder, Wurzelbacher's consultant, called the campaign exploratory and said that Wurzelbacher would decide by Oct. 25 whether to stay in the race.