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When Joe the Plumber Samuel Wurzelbacher announced he was running for Congress against Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur, the big question was why he'd bother. As David Nir wrote, Ohio's "new 9th District was drawn as a deliberate Democratic vote sink ... It's a clever gerrymander, which means any Republican who would try to run here just isn't very clever at all."

But it turns out Wurzelbacher had a solid plan, in the grand tradition of Republican grifters: He's paying himself a $5,000 monthly salary as a candidate. According to a campaign spokesman:

"The salary is significantly less than what he made as a plumber," Schroeder told The Plain Dealer. "The reason why candidates accept salaries from campaigns, particularly working-class candidates, is that they can't run unless they can support themselves."

Which would be a decent reason—you shouldn't have to be wealthy to run for office—except that Wurzelbacher wasn't a licensed plumber in 2008 when he became a semi-celebrity and given that he's spent the years since on the wingnut welfare circuit, writing books and making motivational speeches, it's unlikely he was doing a lot of plumbing in the weeks before he kicked off his campaign. But a run for office puts him back in the public eye just as his least last shred of relevancy was expiring, so the campaign should pay off beyond the salary it pays him.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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