Having lived in the Congressional district in question for a long time, I think this is quite funny.
First of all, the Republicans who are running Ohio’s redistricting process played quite the nasty trick by lumping two longtime liberals in Congress into the same Congressional district – Ohio’s Ninth District, which used to be primarily a Toledo-based district represented by Marcy Kaptur since 1983, now snakes along the Lake Erie shoreline toward Cleveland and has since the 2000 redistricting. But the newest Republican lines have now expanded the district far enough eastward to take in the residence of one Dennis Kucinich.
I have to admit this is a pretty solid case of gerrymandering, although the Ohio GOP’s efforts are still minor league when you compare them to the blatantly partisan hack job here in Maryland. Ohio also has to do away with two Congressional districts, so there had to be some merging in areas which lost population, and it wasn’t the suburbs which declined. Yet these lines should make it one hell of a Democratic primary should both Kaptur and Kucinich wish to stay in Congress, a strong possibility since Kaptur has already announced her intention to run for yet another term. But it’s also the district where Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, best known as “Joe the Plumber,” resides and after a false start in 2010 he’s made his Congressional bid official.
This time around Joe has an even more uphill battle since the Ninth District is packed pretty tightly with Democrats on each end – the rural areas in the middle lean Republican but don’t have enough votes to counter the Big Labor-driven turnout at both ends. While this not-so-dynamic duo of Democrats didn’t win all that convincingly in 2010 – neither drew 60 percent of the vote – one has to remember that 2012 will be a Presidential year and union Democrats will turn out to vote. We saw with Ohio’s Issue 2 what a motivated Big Labor voting force (and a truckload of out-of-state money) can do, and both will be present next year.
So we will see what happens in that district. It’s the first time in several years that the local GOP will have someone with a decent amount of name recognition outside the immediate Toledo area to challenge Kaptur, and perhaps the race will draw more outside interest because of both the possible primary fight and the celebrity involved, even if Joe is somewhat of a B- or C-list celebrity. All that for asking a question on camera.