Campaign signs take a hit in New Hampshire

Campaign signs take a hit in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, N.H.—If size matters when it comes to campaign signs, Texas Rep. Ron Paul has his competition beat.

In many spots in and around Manchester, Bedford and Nashua, larger Paul signs dwarf the smaller lawn signs of Paul’s Republican rivals. From street corners to highway overpasses, Paul’s army has managed to consume plenty of real estate across New Hampshire—a concerted effort that, according to his backers, started way back in October.        

Paul supporter JB Webb, who has been organizing volunteers with giant Paul signs to line the road along Elm Street in Manchester, said the sign effort began when Paul backers rented space in a warehouse to make some 350 of their own signs to hang above highway overpasses throughout the state.

“We’ve been deploying them little by little,” said Webb. “It was sort of a test to see how long the Department of Transportation would leave them up.”   

But the Paul signage effort is a largely homegrown one. Most of the billboard size Paul signs are just recycled from the 2008 race. On larger Paul signs along Elm Street, the year 2008 is covered by spray paint, replaced by 2012.   

Outdoor signs for all of the GOP hopefuls in New Hampshire are still present along many roads throughout the state, but like other aspects of this year’s campaign here, the volume of signs is lower.     

Mike Hammer, who runs a sign printing business in nearby Pelham, N.H., said this cycle has brought him about a quarter of the business he typically sees from a contested presidential primary in the state.  

“In some places it might look like there are a lot of signs out there, but it’s nothing like you usually see,” said Hammer. “I’ve gotten a minimal number of calls this time.”   

The dip in campaign business hasn’t been Hammer’s only disappointment this cycle—he’s an undecided voter himself and said he was still trying to make up his mind as of Monday. 

“My phone’s been ringing off the hook with people telling me who not to vote for,” said Hammer, who has been inundated with robocalls in the campaign’s final hours. “Too bad they're not buying signs."   

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