Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, the congressional candidate known to most Americans as "Joe the Plumber," is gaining ground in the money race against Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), the Democrat he will face in November.

Wurzelbacher raised about $172,000 between January and March, and finished the quarter with more than $80,000 in the bank.


That's not a huge sum — especially for a long-shot challenger taking on one of the longest-serving incumbents in the House.

But Kaptur had to blow through most of her war chest defeating Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in a redistricting-induced primary in early March, a victory that cost her more than half a million dollars.

Kaptur more than doubled Wurzelbacher's haul for the quarter, bringing in about $350,000 since the start of the year. But thanks to the expensive primary, she ended with just $104,000 in the bank, meaning her cash advantage over Wurzelbacher is less than $25,000.

Wurzelbacher, a Republican, is the underdog in the Democratic-leaning district. But he has high name recognition thank to the role he played during the 2008 presidential race, when Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain Senate outlook slides for GOP Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll MORE's (R-Ariz.) campaign used him as a symbol of blue-collar Americans.