Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Magnetism of Todd Stephens

Todd Stephens, Republican candidate for the 151st state house district, is hoping to unseat Rick Taylor. One tactic he is using is the time honored door to door lit drop. Someone gave me one of the items he is leaving with residents -- a refrigerator magnet. You can see a poorly scanned representation alongside this post. It shows his photo with the text "Todd Stephens for State Representative," along with the web address and a note that it was paid for by Friends of Todd Stephens, his campaign committee. Not for him the list of emergency numbers or district info that many campaign magnets have.

Note is it in full color and is shaped like the state of Pennsylvania. It isn't just a blue outline on a white magnet -- it is actually shaped like Pennsylvania, with the Erie bump in the northwest and the squiggly outline on the border with New Jersey. This seemed a little extravagant for a campaign that, on its more recent finance report, listed just over $26,000 cash on hand.

I did some quick checking on the price of magnets. Stephens's measures just under 3.5" tall and about 5.25" wide. I found two sites that listed 4" x 6" inch 4 color magnets for just over $1,000 for 2500. The campaign would probably buy more than that if they are distributing them door to door, but that gives some idea of price, although a higher volume might lower the cost.. That looks like it is for a 4" x 6" rectangle, not a custom shape. I found one place that listed state shaped magnets but that was an outline on a plain background, not something cut in the exact shape.

Looking at the expenditures for his campaign from I found one campaign expenditure for campaign supplies at $4,400 on March 18th, and some expenditures for a little over $1,000 but they were often for postcards or website expenses. A political organization provided in-kind donations for postcards. Nothing listed magnets, which leads me to the theory that the $,4,400 is for the magnets (note: one of the sites that lists prices online charges $4,400 for 10,000 4" x 6" full color magnets).

I'm not sure that a candidate with just $26,000 in the bank after the primary should have spent so much for large, colorful magnets, but, hey, I'm no campaign consultant. As someone whose refrigerator is covered with assorted papers, held on by magnets, I can say that the size of it would make it problematic; smaller magnets are more useful.

In any event, I found it interesting.

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