Pat Toomey Is Keeper of Senate’s “Candy Desk”
Something we didn’t know about U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican: He is the keeper of the Senate’s candy.
National Journal details the matter in a story about how senators chose where, in the chamber, to keep a desk.
But as a long night wears on, there’s one desk particularly critical to keeping the Senate running: That’s the one used by Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican. Tucked inside his desk is a spread of candy and chocolate from his home state. When asked if the rumblings were true, if he was the senator with the candy, he responded, “I am the candy supplier.”
It’s a tradition. An aisle seat on the back row of the Republican side—adjacent to the chamber doors where many senators flit in and out—is the candy desk. It’s a commitment Toomey readily accepted.
“Since Pennsylvania is the No. 1 candy maker in the country, I took the desk,” he said. “And I keep it stocked.”
Indeed, the Senate’s own website features the “Candy Desk” as part of the chamber’s venerable history: “In 1965 Senator George Murphy of California originated the practice of keeping a supply of candy in his desk for the enjoyment of fellow senators. In every Congress since that time a candy desk has been located in the back row of the Republican side, on the aisle and adjacent to the Chamber’s most heavily used entrance.”
There’s even an extensive Wikipedia page about the Candy Desk. And it may be that Pennsylvania — home, of course, to the Hershey Company — has an inside track on keeping the desk: One of Toomey’s predecessors at the desk, it turns out, was Rick Santorum.
“Being a senator from Pennsylvania, he filled the candy desk with Hershey candy and Just Born products (such as Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales). During this time period, Hershey shipped roughly 100 pounds of chocolate and other candy four times a year for Santorum to fill the desk. When Santorum did not win re-election during the 2006 U.S. Senate elections, Kirk Saville, a spokesman for Hershey, said about the company’s no longer being able to supply sweets for the candy desk, “We were pleased to be a small part of sweetening up congressional proceedings.”
Toomey obtained the desk in January. “The candy desk duty is Mounds of responsibility,” he told the Post-Gazette at the time. “I campaigned for this assignment on the platform of life, liberty and the pursuit of Peeps, and hope Pennsylvania’s treats will sweeten the bitter partisan atmosphere.”