MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – What does it take to make a United States president? A check of the campaign spending records shows pizza is a key ingredient.

“If people have a happy belly, then they’ll be happy warriors,” said Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard, as she strolled into the Portland Pie Company.

For manager Kelly McKinney, the days leading up to the primary are her Super Bowl. “Probably three or four times a week, we have 50, 60 people in here, all from campaigns,” she said.

“That has a really big impact,” said Michael Somers, who heads up the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association. He said New Hampshire businesses get an economic boost every four years when candidates set up shop for the first-in-the-nation primary election. “I mean, you can’t buy that kind of marketing.”

According to receipts filed with the Federal Election Commission between April and September, campaigns spent more than $67,000 on food in New Hampshire.

Portland Pie Company in Manchester, New Hampshire, has received visits from Tulsi Gabbard’s, Joe Biden’s, Amy Klobuchar’s and Michael Bennet’s campaigns. (WBZ-TV)

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign spent the most. When it came to pizza, his team chose Venice Old Style Pizza, dropping more than $2,000 there. “Maybe they see that we’re just a small family-owned place,” said owner Chris Farris.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign hit another small neighborhood shop, spending more than $300 at Luisa’s Italian Pizzeria. “It’s like the traditional family started from 40 years ago,” said manager Chelsea Driscoll. “We have stuck with their recipes.”

Andrew Yang’s camp hit the college scene, spending nearly $300 at Wildcat Pizza near the University of New Hampshire.

The Granite State’s biggest draw for campaign pizza is Portland Pie Company. Joe Biden’s, Amy Klobuchar’s, and Michael Bennet’s campaigns spent a combined $1,223.54 there.

Not all of the candidates are necessarily using campaign funds to pay for things like pizza, which may explain why there weren’t any receipts showing New Hampshire pizza consumption from the Elizabeth Warren’s, Tom Steyer’s or William Weld’s campaigns over the summer.

As for Trump’s team, we had to dig back to 2016 to find his slice-of-choice at Simons Roast Beef in Manchester.

There are no public records yet of money spent after September when Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick joined the Democratic race. History shows most campaign spending in New Hampshire happens in the week leading up to the primary election.

By the way, one of the candidates, in particular, does think out-of-the-pizza-box. Even though Pete Buttigieg’s team did spend some money on slices, more than a third of his food budget in New Hampshire actually went to Panera Bread.

Christina Hager

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