RED WING, Minn. (WCCO) — In a presidential election, politics tends to pop up in unexpected places. In Red Wing, party preference is found in freshly-baked treats.
“You know who I’m going to buy, get that Trump cookie,” said Derf Hoisington, a participant in the Hanisch Bakery cookie poll.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
“We purchased a cookie for Clinton,” said Steve Nelson, another participant.
Like the presidential campaigns, Hanisch Bakery’s presidential cookie poll features plenty of flavor.
“We like to say it’s the sweetest vote in town,” said Bill Hanisch of Hanisch Bakery.
Every sugar cookie purchase puts a customer’s candidate that much closer to victory. The bakery staff keeps count on a tally sheet every time a cookie for a candidate is sold.
“I know when it first started, Trump was in the lead,” Hanisch said. “Then, in the last couple of weeks, Hillary has swayed a bit more. I don’t know if it has to do with stuff that has gone on with it, we’ll wait and see.”
In the “voting” booth, ballot preparation is a daily task left in the skilled hands of confectionary artist Joyce Rapp.
Since August, she’s been prepping the presidential cookies.
“I enjoy decorating cookies, so it doesn’t matter what cookies they are,” Rapp said.
She coats each sugar cookie in a layer of white butter cream. The frosted cookie is then topped with a T for Trump or a C for Clinton.
Rapp makes sure to honor party colors.READ MORE: This Virtual Minneapolis Took A Local High Schooler 770 Hours To Build
“Trump is red for the Republican Party and Clinton is blue from the Democratic Party,” Rapp said.
In the final weeks of the election, Rapp’s biggest challenge is keeping up with demand, which is no surprise considering Hanisch Bakery has no rules against ballot box stuffing.
“Stuffing the cookie box is greatly encouraged,” Hanisch said. “We don’t say you can only have one or one.”
Believe it or not, rigging this sweet vote hasn’t had a big impact on the result. Since 1984, the cookie poll has accurately predicted nearly all presidential and gubernatorial races.
“The year Jesse Ventura won, he won the cookie poll,” Rapp said.
The 2012 election was the only anomaly due to one final purchase.
“The last guy we let in was a Romney supporter and he bought whatever cookies he needed to put Romney up by one cookie,” Hanisch said.
Accuracy aside, at the very least, dessert is an indicator of the overall tone of the campaign.
“Actually, the sales of the cookies are way down, because people don’t want to, it seems, let out who they’re voting for,” Hanisch said.
Even in the most bitter election climates, Hanisch Bakery’s cookie poll showcases the sweet side to politics.
“No matter how nasty they’re getting on political lines, this is still fun,” Hanisch said.MORE NEWS: Fourth Stimulus Check: Can You Expect Another Relief Payment?
Each cookie costs $2 and the bakery poll is open until 5 p.m. on Election Day.