NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 2, 2012

The sweeter side to politics

By Katie Lovett Features Editor
Newburyport Daily News

---- — The staff at Winfrey’s Fudge & Chocolates yesterday was busy putting away the leftover Halloween treats and setting out festive, brightly colored Thanksgiving and Christmas candy.

But, in addition to the holiday hues taking a spot in the Newburyport shop, another crop of colors was also popping up: red, white and blue.

Like everywhere else, the shop is gearing up for Election Day on Tuesday.

Customers will find milk chocolate lollipops in the shape of American flags and stars, and red, mini chocolate stars wrapped in red, white and blue foil. For several weeks, the shop has also been selling Presidential Poll milk chocolate candy bars, available in two different wrappings: one featuring Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and the other with a picture of President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

“They do pretty well,” manager Cara Brewin said. She expects sales will increase slightly as Tuesday draws closer.

So far, Brewin said, it seems like the shop is selling more Romney bars. While a quick glance in the candy’s container confirms there are still more bars featuring the president’s face than the former Massachusetts governor, Brewin said the shop did receive a larger supply of Obama bars to start.

Winfrey’s is far from alone in selling their patriotic-themed merchandise.

As Election Day draws near, politics can be found everywhere from candy stores to restaurants as shopkeepers offer a mix of merchandise to customers eager to show their political affiliation or show their support of a candidate.

Some restaurants are revving up the big screens and rolling out election-inspired cocktails. Voters are invited to cast their ballots by choosing red-state or blue-state coffee cups at 7-Eleven.

And an entire niche industry of election-related food items—including political beef jerky, donkey/elephant steak branding irons and candidate cookies—has sprung up around the ballot hoopla.

At Parker’s Crazy Cookies in California, the boutique bakery invites customers to sate their sweet tooth on their favorite politicians’ chiseled good looks—chiseled into shortbread cookies, that is.

The cookies are available as a President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden two-pack, or a Republican challenger duo, featuring Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s faces.

Owner Dave Parker says the political cookies are the bakery’s biggest sellers right now. The cookies, which are available online, are flying off the shelves at nearby markets. So much so, Parker says, that if an election could be called purely on the basis of cookie sales, there wouldn’t be any question as to outcome.

“The Democrats are definitely leading,” he said.

Material from the San Jose Mercury News/Associated Press was used in this report.