Ohio Congressional candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as “Joe the Plumber,” declared his stance on illegal immigration by advocating to “start shooting” on the border at a political event over the weekend in Prescott, AZ.
“For years I’ve said, you know, put a damn fence on the border, going to Mexico and start shooting…’that’s how I feel. I’m not going to hide it just because I’m running for office. I want the borders protected, and I’m very adamant about that,” Wurzelbacher said at the event.
He first made the statements Friday night at a campaign event for Arizona Republican state Rep. Lori Klein, who is up for re-election in the 11th District. Wurzelbacher is running for congress after winning the Republican nomination for an Ohio congressional seat in March.
According to the Prescott eNews, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was also at the fundraiser. He is well known for his controversial tactics and tough stand against illegal immigration. Lisa Allen, from Sheriff Arpaio’s office, tells NBC Latino that although Arpaio has no way of knowing whether Wurzelbacker was serious or not, he believes the comments may have been made in “jest.”
The following day, Wurzelbacker recapped the comments at a “Patriot Rally,” with Klein stating: “I’m running for Congress. How many congressmen or people running for Congress have you heard [say], put a fence up and start shooting? None? Well you heard it here first. Put troops on the border and start shooting, I bet that solves our immigration problem real quick.”
Both of Wurzelbacher’s speeches were posted on the Internet by Prescottnews.com
Wurzelbacher gained popularity in the 2008 campaign after asking then-candidate Barack Obama a question about a small-business tax at a campaign stop. However, it was Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) who held onto the story of “Joe the Plumber.”
McCain’s daughter, Megan, called Wurzelbacher’s shooting comments “ridiculous.”
Klein’s District 11 opponent, Republican state House Speaker Andy Tobin, called for Wurzelbacher to apologize or go back home to Ohio.”I would ask for him to retract the statement as made in jest, and if not made in jest, I’m appalled at him,” Tobin told KTVK. “We don’t do that in Arizona.”
The Arizona Democratic Party has criticized the remark, telling the The Plain Dealer that this was “another black eye for Arizona.” Klein reacted by saying Wurzelbacher was kidding, according to the AP.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), who is running against Wurzelbacher in the 9th Congressional District, issued a statement for Wurzelbacher to withdraw his comment. “Joe the Plumber’s comments have no place in a civil society,” she said, according to a statement emailed to The Blade. “A member of Congress is sworn to uphold the Constitution, not to take the law into his own hands. He should take back his words and apologize to everyone who respects life, the Constitution and the rule of law.”
Wurzelbacher will face off against Kaptur for the 9th Congressional district in November.