In this age of partisan politics, there are very few things that both sides of the aisle can agree on. One of them is the "candy desk." While it may be officially known as desk #80, over the last five decades it's earned its sweeter moniker. Located in the last row, on the aisle and adjacent to the heavily-used elevators on the Republican side of the chamber, this nearly two-century-old mahogany desk is stocked full of deliciously, donated confections. "People share candy at work," Cuneyt Dil, who wrote an article about it for DCist earlier this month, told FWx, "This is the Congressional equivalent of that bowl... or desk, in this case."
It's a tradition that dates back to 1965 to when former Hollywood actor and singer George Murphy was elected to the Senate. As is custom for freshman senators, the California Republican was assigned to a back row seat. Always the type who liked to entertain, legend has it that Murphy kept candy in his desk to satisfy not only his own sweet tooth but fellow Senators from both parties as well. While this probably made him popular among his colleagues, it didn't matter to voters. In 1971, Murphy was voted out of office after only one term. However, his candy desk endured. Republican Arizona Senator Pat Fannin took over the desk and continued this new tradition, however only giving away hard candies. Several other candy-giving senators followed, but it wasn't until 1985 when Washington Senator Slade Gorton took it over and the candy desk was finally revealed to the public. Gorton did things a little differently, by offering candies made in his home state of Washington to promote local businesses.