Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, shakes hands with Samuel Wurzelbacher in front of the Tea Party Express bus on Tuesday.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
A national Tea Party organization threw its weight behind local congressional candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher on Tuesday, calling him a true conservative.
The California-based Tea Party Express stopped at the Dorr Street Cafe, 5243 Dorr St., to endorse Mr. Wurzelbacher (R., Springfield Township), who is known as “Joe the Plumber” and is running in the 9th Congressional District against incumbent U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).
Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said the organization wants “true conservatives” to run for office, and said Mr. Wurzelbacher fits the description.
“We need to encourage our own to step up and run when we have good people,” she said,
“Joe has put himself out there, and he is a conservative that is willing to work for the people, represent the people, and not be beholden to the party.”
The group, which travels the country to campaign for its ideals and support favored candidates, arrived in its “Mobile Phone Bank Bus,” which the organization uses to recruit activists to make campaign phone calls. About 20 Tea Party Express members, Lucas County Republican staffers, and friends, family, and supporters of Mr. Wurzelbacher participated in the event in a parking lot outside the cafe.
Mr. Wurzelbacher handed out campaign signs and literature and posed for pictures, then briefly laid out some of his positions, such as his support for a simplified tax system that doesn’t rely on specialized incentives and an elimination of what he considers onerous federal regulations. He said the government can’t serve as a safety net for everyone, because the country can’t afford it.
"We've tried it for too long, and we've seen where it's gotten us," he said.
Mr. Wurzelbacher has kept a generally low profile in recent weeks, concentrating, he says, on door-to-door campaigning and in recent days on debate preparations for his upcoming televised debate — which was sponsored by The Blade and WTVG-TV, Channel 13 — on Friday with Miss Kaptur.
Representatives from the Kaptur campaign said the Tea Party Express already in a way endorsed Mr. Wurzelbacher in September, when the pro-military Move America Forward Political Action Committee endorsed the candidate.
The two organizations share most of the same leadership, and are affiliated with Russo Marsh & Rogers, a Republican Party-associated public relations firm.
Steve Katich, chief of staff for Miss Kaptur, said it was “easy to come in on a bus from out of town,” and harder to work within a community and support constituents.
“I suppose they are kind of taking anyone who will come,” Mr. Katich said. “We will cast our lot with the people we have been meeting with in this community.”
A 2008 encounter with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama made “Joe the Plumber” famous.
On Tuesday, Mr. Wurzelbacher almost met up with the vice president: Joe Biden had lunch at Schmucker’s Restaurant on Reynolds Road where Mr. Wurzelbacher’s mother works. Mr. Wurzelbacher had breakfast there earlier in the day.
Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6086.