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Published: Tuesday, 4/27/2010

'Joe' opting for Smith in GOP contest

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Wurzelbacher Wurzelbacher
CAROLYN KASTER / AP Enlarge

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber," who once considered running for Congress from Toledo's 9th District, today is expected to throw his support behind Jack Smith.

Mr. Wurzelbacher became a conservative icon after an impromptu debate with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama outside his Springfield Township home two years ago.

"Joe the Plumber obviously is well thought of in the Tea Party movement," Mr. Smith said, adding that people associated with the conservative movement have shown a lot of interest in the May 4 election campaign.

"He's well thought of and well-spoken, and I'm proud to have his endorsement," Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Smith, a former Toledo police chief, is running against Monclova Township businessman Rich Iott for the Republican nomination for Congress.

The winner will face the winner of the Democratic primary, either incumbent U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) or her challenger, Dale Terry of Huron, and the winner of the Libertarian Party contest, Joseph Jaffe of Sylvania or Jeremy Swartz of Oregon, in November.

Mr. Iott said he has not sought endorsements.

"I'm not sure it makes a big difference one way or another. People are going to vote on what they know about the candidate and what they can do about the problems we have in Washington - out-of-control spending, out-of-control borrowing," Mr. Iott said.

Mr. Wurzelbacher is also expected to throw his backing behind fellow Springfield Township resident Andy Glenn for the Republican nomination for Lucas County commissioner.

Also running for the Republican nomination for county commissioner are Dan Steingraber of Oregon and George Sarantou of Toledo. Six candidates are competing for the Democratic nomination.

The seat is held now by Democrat Ben Konop, who is not seeking re-election.

Mr. Wurzelbacher was working for a plumbing contractor when Mr. Obama made an unscheduled campaign stop in his neighborhood Oct. 12, 2008.

He argued that Mr. Obama's plan to roll back tax cuts on Americans earning more than $250,000 a year could hurt him if he someday wanted to buy the business.

In explaining his position, Mr. Obama said, "I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Republican presidential candidate John McCain latched onto the comment and referred to "Joe the Plumber" in a candidate debate.

Mr. Wurzelbacher made campaign appearances for Mr. McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin. He briefly considered running for Congress against Miss Kaptur.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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