BUSINESS QUARTERLY: Candidates spend locally for campaign materials

  • Peter Krslovic, owner of KaSa CMT in Peterborough, runs off campaign postcards. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Peter Krslovic, owner of KaSa CMT in Peterborough, runs off campaign postcards. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Campaign signs at the intersection of Route 123 and Route 124 in New Ipswich.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/25/2022 2:25:43 PM
Modified: 10/25/2022 2:25:28 PM

Political campaigns are big business, with candidates and the groups that support them shelling out millions leading up to an election for federal and state office. But how much of that money remains in the New Hampshire economy?

For example, state Sen. Tom Sherman’s campaign for governor spent about $27,500 in New Hampshire in the 2022 primary and leading up to the general election, according to filings on the New Hampshire Secretary of State website. But that’s a fraction of the total $1.3 million spent by his campaign, much of which went to out-of-state organizations for strategizing and advertising campaigns.

Local companies said they do see business from campaigns, often from smaller candidates running for state seats.

Rob Crowley, part-owner of Savron Graphics in Jaffrey, said he has had political candidates on a two-year cycle for years, and this year, has created signs or postcards for multiple candidates or political groups on both sides of the aisle, including the Hillsborough Democrats.

Crowley said the company has usually provided printed materials for five to 10 candidates or groups in any given election year, which he said is about what his small company of three employees can handle. He refers larger campaigns, who require more volume, to larger print shops.

“We mostly do it for the local guys. We’re typically good for up to something like 5,000 postcards,” Crowley said.

That’s enough to do local mailings in towns like Peterborough, Jaffrey, Rindge and New Ipswich, or to create signs for state representative candidates, Crowley said.

“It’s a bit of a curse and a blessing. It’s extra income, because it’s work that we don’t normally have, and it’s not complex work,” Crowley said. “Every two years, we just have to plan for a little more.”

Peter Krslovic, owner of KaSaCMT in Peterborough, which includes printing and shipping services, agreed that for his one-man shop, the extra income that comes from the handful of customers seeking signs or postcard mailers is beneficial.

“Anything extra is great for me,” Krslovic said.

Krslovic said because of his shop’s small size, he typically does smaller orders, such as 1,200 to 1,500 pieces for mailers.

Sly Karasinski, a Republican running for the state Senate District 10 seat, said using local companies is important to him. He used Gem Graphics in Keene to print his signs, Gemini Screenprint in Keene for embroidery and Staples in Keene for his printing and mailing. He has also advertised in the Monadnock Shopper.

“Everything I bought, pretty much came from here, the Monadnock region. I’m a big proponent of that, and trying to support each other, said Karasinski.

Karasinski’s opponent, Donovan Fenton, a Keene Democrat who is running for the state Senate after three terms in the House, said there is a definite difference in scale between a House of Representatives campaign and a Senate one. Fenton also used Keystone Press for his mailers, and his campaign manager is a Keene resident. He has advertised in the Monadnock Shopper, Keene Sentinel and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

“When I was in the House, representing Ward 5, I could knock on every door in Ward 5,” Fenton said. “District 10 encompasses so many towns – you don’t have the ability to hit every door. You have a little more help, but you have to work just as hard, if not harder, to reach everyone in your area.”

PeriklisKaroutas, a campaign consultant with Republican state Sen. Denise Ricciardi in District 9, said using local resources works to benefit both the company and the candidate, as it’s often beneficial to have people who understand the local issues working on the material. Ricciardi used a graphic company in Manchester for her signs and direct mail, and hired a website designer from Bedford.

“Just as with anything else, local folks from New Hampshire know the area, they know the audience they’re talking to and they know the issues – because they’re from the area. As often as humanly possible, we want to use folks that understand the issues at   the most local level. Folks at Manchester, or Concord, are much more in tune with the look and feel local people want than someone at a company like Vista Print,” Karoutas said.

Ricciardi’s Democratic opponent, Matt McLaughlin, said he uses New Hampshire companies “to the greatest extent possible,” including using a unionized print shop, Keystone Press in Manchester, for his printing and mailing, although his literature was designed by a company in Washington, D.C. He hired a family member who lives in Manchester to do his web design. His single full-time employee, his campaign manager, is a New Hampshire resident.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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