Obama leads local cookie countWhen campaigns start to get vicious, there’s nothing like a sugary treat to lighten the mood of an upcoming election.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
When campaigns start to get vicious, there’s nothing like a sugary treat to lighten the mood of an upcoming election.
For years, a local bakery has offered frosted cookies displaying the names of presidential candidates for hungry patrons to show their support. The now-famous cookie poll was started by Bob Braschler of Braschler’s Bakery, and is being carried out today by Bill Hanisch, owner of Hanisch Bakery.
“It’s fun. You gotta keep it going,” Hanisch said.
During the past three months, dozens of large round sugar cookies have continuously filled a shelf at the bakery. A healthy serving of white frosting adorns each one, with a blue or red ribbon of icing flowing over the top. Some read “Obama,” others “Romney.”
In order to prevent any cookie quarrels like those the actual candidates have gotten into, the treats are not mixed.
“We make sure they’re on separate trays,” Hanisch said.
Every so often, Hanisch will tally up the sales of each cookie and see which candidate has the advantage. He most recently counted “votes” Wednesday night and results showed Barack Obama in the lead. The incumbent was winning 52 percent to 48 percent.
“It’s never been wrong,” Hanisch said of the establishment’s poll, adding, “this year — who knows.”
At one point, Republican challenger Mitt Romney was losing by nearly 300 cookies. Later, however, his supporters managed to cut the difference to just 50.
“It’s followed very closely to the national polls,” Hanisch noted.
On the surface, some may think the cookie poll only represents local opinion. But with Red Wing being a destination town along the Mississippi, boaters, weekend visitors from the metropolitan area and attendees of the recent Fall Festival of the Arts have all stopped in to grab a sweet treat in favor of their preferred candidate.
“You’re getting a pretty wide array of people,” Hanisch said.
Some of those people purchase a cookie and go on their way, while others share their opinions on the presidential candidates. As the election advances and there are more topics to discuss, controversial conversation in the bakery grows, Hanisch said.
“Especially following the last couple of debates,” he added.
Regardless of which candidate they’re supporting, each customer has contributed to the sale of more than 3,500 political cookies.
“A lot of people do it for the fun of it and a lot of people are very serious about it,” Hanisch said.
But what about the baker behind it all?
“Me, personally, I stay neutral.”