www.mybaycity.com August 15, 2010
Government Article 5165

Did Joe the Plumber Help Dan the Doctor Get GOP 1st District Nomination?

Yooper Candidate Now Leads State Senator Jason Allen by 15 Votes

August 15, 2010
By: Dave Rogers

Dan the Doctor Benishek toured the massive 1st Congressional District of Michigan with Joe the Plumber a few days before the August primary election.

And, Dan the Doctor apparently has flushed away his stubborn opponent, Jason Allen.

Or perhaps Samuel J. Wurzelbacher from Toledo helped Dan the Doctor wrench his way to the victory.

Or perhaps he plunged ahead with Joe's help, as Joe famously touts on his website "Let's Plunge the Crap Out of Washington!"

Joe the plumber was in Michigan's First District to make campaign stops with Dr. Dan Benishek on Saturday and Sunday July 31 and August 1.

He traveled from Toledo, Ohio, with his family to make stops in Marquette, Escanaba, Manistique, St. Ignace, Charlevoix, Alpena and Pinconning. "He did it because he believes in Dan," says Joe on his website.

After some seesawing, Dr. Benishek has emerged with a 15 vote victory over Senator Allen after all votes were finally tallied in the 31-county district.

Allen won the 17 northern Bay County precincts of the 1st district 904-776 in the primary.

Although a recount is still a possibility, time is running out for Sen. Allen to challenge the Iron River physician whose campaign motto was "Enough is Enough!"

The good doctor is carrying vague Tea Partyish complaints about the state of the country, the federal deficit, the bailouts of banks and auto companies, taxes and President Obama as banners toward his hoped for election in November.

The actual Tea Party candidate, Tom Stillings of Torch Lake, got about 5,400 votes while Benishek and Allen got about 27,000 votes each.

State Rep. Gary McDowell of Rudyard, a fellow "Yooper," meanwhile, is rallying with workers in the district, hoping his experience as a UPS driver can carry him to victory in the district that went 65 percent to Stupak in 2008.

Political observers had to acknowledge the apparent success of Dan the good Doctor's last minute campaign ploy that put him ahead in the race that pundit Bill Ballenger of Inside Michigan Politics had predicted would be a tie from day one.

However, some more subdued political observers might judge that taking counsel of a certified political kook like Wurzelbacher who, contrary to public belief, is not a certified plumber.

Joe the Plumber's pipes burst when he couldn't help Sen. John McCain plunge ahead to victory in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Joe, however, earned himself a license in celebrity -- one that soon faded.

That is, until Dan the Doctor rescued him from obscurity in the campaign to replace Bart Stupak in Congress.

Whether Benishek's alignment with the slightly lunatic fringe as represented by Joe the Plumber will play out in November is another story.

0202 nd 06-16-2019

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