Move over, Joe the Plumber. Steve the Auctioneer wants in on the race for the 9th Congressional District.
Steven Kraus, 52, a Huron resident who is a licensed auctioneer and real estate salesman in Sandusky, said Tuesday he believes a Republican can win in the district reconfigured to encompass Democrat-rich communities from West Toledo to West Cleveland.
Mr. Kraus, like Mr. Wurzelbacher, is an Air Force veteran. He went into the military at 18 and stayed for 11 years. After leaving the military in 1989, he worked as a private contractor in both operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm against Iraq.
He said he was born in Bowling Green and raised in Sandusky. He moved to Huron in 1996 and had several unsuccessful business ventures before becoming an auctioneer. He said he has an electrical engineering technology degree from Troy State University, Troy, Ala., and ran for city council when he lived in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., in 1992.
Mr. Kraus said he would campaign in favor of no more taxes, no more deficit spending, and no more members of Congress exempting themselves from legislation they pass.
"God keeps calling me back. I took my oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic," Mr. Kraus said. "We have turned this country on its head, and we have people leading this country down the wrong path. I'm doing it because I believe it's a calling on my life."
He said he was not daunted by competition with the better-known Mr. Wurzelbacher. "I think Joe's got his own problems. I think Joe might end up being his own worst enemy. I'm not really too worried about him. We'll just see who wins at the finish line," Mr. Kraus said.
He said he has met Mr. Wurzelbacher twice -- once when Mr. Wurzelbacher appeared at a rally for Republican John McCain in Sandusky in 2008 and again in September at a Tea Party Express event in Lorain.
At the Lorain event, Mr. Kraus said he told Mr. Wurzelbacher he was running for the 9th District seat, and Mr. Wurzelbacher told him he was considering running.
Mr. Wurzelbacher declined to respond last night other than to say, "He has every right as an American to run. The people in the 9th District will decide who they want to represent them."