Yard signs of the times 

Log onto eBay and an official Obama/Biden yard sign can be had for under $10. Locally, the investment is a little steeper.

After a rare shipment of Obama paraphernalia arrived last week, campaign field organizer Lauren S. Caldwell announced an open competition to volunteers interested in securing the political lawn ornaments. Specifically, Obamamaniacs could knock on 100 doors or make 300 calls for one of 28 available yard signs, or hit up 60 doors or dial 150 phone numbers for a bumper sticker, window sign or button. “Super Volunteers” were offered the “very special treat” of a 4-by-6 “barn sign” for 2,000 calls or knocking on 500 doors. All of the contests are first-done, first-served.

“It’s safe to say that demand has far exceeded supply the entire campaign,” says Caleb Weaver, Obama’s state communications director. “As soon as we get anything in, it goes right out the door.”

The same can be said at the local Republican headquarters on Brooks Street. Demand has been so high for McCain/Palin yard signs—and supply from the national campaign so low—that Missoula County Republicans finally decided to print their own and sell them at $5 a pop. According to Dan Stusek, a candidate for House District 92 and a volunteer at the office, a recent re-order arrived Oct. 10 and was garnering more attention than a raffle for a free Stevens Model 200 rifle. Stusek says 350 signs have sold so far; one Livingston resident heard about Missoula’s DIY supply and ordered 100 directly from the printer.

“It’s hard to say that we’ll ever see as many McCain signs as Obama signs in a place like Missoula,” says Stusek, “but it’s at least nice to be able to get them to those who want them.”

Meanwhile, in both the Republican and Democratic offices, there was an abundance of local candidate yard signs available for voters to simply have. As one volunteer offered on the condition of anonymity, “Please, take them. We can’t give some of these away.”
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