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Buy a cookie, cast your vote: Election Day foot traffic a golden opportunity

PTO bake sale at Ledge Street Elementary School, a polling location in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Kevin Breuninger | CNBC

NASHUA, N.H. — The high-profile primary drives a lot of spending in the Granite State — but the election economy isn’t limited to TV ad sales and hotel rooms.

At Ledge Street Elementary School, one of this city’s nine polling locations, the school’s parent-teacher organization is capitalizing on the steady flow of foot traffic with a bake sale.

Residents heading inside to vote will pass by a trio of fold-out tables piled high with cookies, cupcakes, dipped pretzels and an array of other homemade and home-wrapped goods from about 20 parents.

It’s prime real estate, but there’s no price-gouging here: Most of the goods sell for 50 cents, though larger items, like the postcard-sized “I Voted” cookies, fetch $1.

PTO bake sale at Ledge Street Elementary School, a polling location in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Kevin Breuninger | CNBC

The PTO’s last bake sale, at a state-level election in November, netted around $300, said Amy Shuler, a fifth-grade teacher and the group’s treasurer. Some of that total came from donations, she noted.

This time around has already been much busier, she said.

The money helps fund field days, assemblies, playground equipment and sometimes even classroom supplies.

There’s “a lot of generosity toward the PTO,” said Shuler.

Kevin Breuninger

Crucial voter turnout will likely come down to four counties

A sign marks a polling location on January 23, 2024 in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Scott Eisen | Getty Images

Four of New Hampshire’s 10 counties could be key bellwethers to watch tonight to gauge all important voter turnout, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Hillsborough, Rockingham, Stafford and Merrimack together comprise 75% of the primary electorate.

Since 1952, seven towns in New Hampshire have consistently gone to the eventual winner of the state’s Republican primary, Four of them are located in three of those counties, NBC News reported.

Trump won the city of Rochester in Stafford County by 20 points in 2016, close to his 23-point margin of victory in New Hampshire that year, according to NBC.

Hillsborough County made up nearly 30% of the primary vote in 2016, while one out of four votes came from Rockingham County. Merrimack County, located west of Stafford, was home to 12% of Republican primary voters in 2016.

—Chelsey Cox

New Hampshire GOP primary ad spending totals over $70 million

People line up to vote during the 2024 Republican presidential primary, at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, U.S., January 23, 2024. 

Reba Saldanha | Reuters

The New Hampshire Republican primary campaign will have cost over $70 million in advertisements, according to data from AdImpact.

The massive amount of ad money was split between the campaigns and supportive political action committees of Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. The ads aired on television, radio and digital platforms.

Haley will wrap up the New Hampshire primary riding on a wave of $30 million in ad support, which includes over $18 million from the pro-Haley super PAC, SFA Fund Inc.

Trump and his supportive super PAC have invested over $15 million into ads in New Hampshire.

– Brian Schwartz

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