There's a Senator in Charge of Stocking a Candy Desk

Pat Toomey hopes his Mars bars and Peeps will keep bipartisan battles at bay
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2015 1:55 PM CST

(Newser) – It's said you can catch more flies with honey—or, in Capitol Hill's case, with a desk full of Twizzlers, Three Musketeers, and Milky Ways. Sen. Pat Toomey is the latest honcho to take the helm of the "Candy Desk," currently located in the back row of the Republican side of the Senate chambers next to the most-used entryway, CNN reports. The desk, which is filled with free treats for lawmakers of any ilk, is a 50-year-old tradition: California Sen. George Murphy opened shop in 1965 to satisfy his sweet tooth and found that senators from all parties would come over to snag a confection and "mingle," Toomey says, as per ABC News. There's technically no eating allowed on the Senate floor, but an exception has been made for treats from the Candy Desk, the Boston Globe noted in 2013.

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Tradition also holds that the senator manning the desk accepts donated candy from his or her home state, so the 114th Congress will be sated with sugary snacks from some of Pennsylvania's more than 200 candymakers—including Hershey, Mars, and smaller manufacturers such as Wilbur Chocolate—under Toomey's Wonka-esque watch. The senator obviously intends to take his sweet new position seriously. "The Candy Desk duty is Mounds of responsibility," he said in a statement last week, as per CNN. "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." Past titleholders have included Sens. John McCain, Rick Santorum, and outgoing Candy Man Mark Kirk. (The Wikipedia entry for the Candy Desk is fascinating.)

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