Campaign swag vendors cash in at rallies

Campaign swag vendors cash in

Most of us are glad the Presidential campaign is nearing the finish line and we only have a bit more than two weeks to watch ads and hear speeches.

But a small group of people are scrambling to cash in at remaining campaign events and sell their inventory of shirts, buttons and banners.

Outside Hillary Clinton's Friday rally at Cuyahoga Community College, a handful of vendors battled windy, soggy weather and sharp-eyed police who kept them off college property and away from the heaviest foot-traffic of folks attending the event.

Kansas City's Glen Craven and his mom set up their stand under rain protection. "I've been coast to coast and seen something at every event," he said.

He sells mainly shirts and buttons, no off-color messages in the mix. He acknowledges he makes "a pretty decent buck."

"But I'm not going to talk about how much I make," he added.

His shirts are 20 bucks each, two for 35.  His buttons are 5 bucks apiece and 3 for 10 dollars.

"And if you get a shirt, I"ll give you a button with it," he adds.

Is any of the merchandise made in the USA?

He says the buttons are and the shirts are not.

The merchandise comes from manufacturers who have teams of workers 

Vendors are in competition with campaigns who sell their own items inside rallies.

Lakewood's Mike Normile sells only buttons and jokes there are hustlers inside and outside these campaign ralliles.

He supports Clinton, likes the travel and wears an Obama mask to boost sales. He gives the Clinton campaign a share of his take.

"I'm retired. I'm tired of sitting around my house reading Shakespeare and St. Thomas Aquinas. I go to New York and Chicago. I'm going to Pittsburgh (for another Clinton rally): tomorrow,..Some weeks, I make a buck. Some weeks I lose a buck," he said. 

Some vendors are bipartisan -- selling merchandise for both candidates.

Marc  Daniels boasts he is the only Jewish swag vendor.

"There's no competition," he said.

He sells skullcaps for both Donald Trump and Clinton and uses a share of the money to promote his "weed out Hate " campaign.

On Friday he was working the Clinton event. On Saturday he'll be at Trump's I-X Center rally.

Which candidates have been the biggest merchandise moneymakers?

According to Craven, it's Bernie Sanders and Trump.

 


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