When a U.S. Senator has a craving for sweets, they don’t have to go far. There is a desk in the U.S. Senate Chamber known as the “candy desk,” and it is, in fact, filled with candy and is the only food allowed in the chamber.
The tradition started in 1965 by California Senator George Murphy, a former Hollywood actor and film executive. He kept a ready supply of candy in his desk to satisfy his own sweet tooth. In 1968, he moved to an aisle seat near the back entrance to the chamber and began giving out his candy to his colleagues and anyone passing by. His desk began to be known as the “candy desk.”
Murphy lost his seat in 1970, but the “candy desk” tradition remained as Senators who occupied that particular spot in the chamber began stocking it with an assortment of treats. Some Senators requested certain brands of candies or the Senator occupying the seat would stock it with candies made in their home state. The desk has remained in the back row on the Republican side of the chamber, right next to the aisle.
Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey has been the current keeper of the candy desk since 2015, and he took it over from Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, who supplied it with Snickers, gummy bears, and Lemonheads, just to name a few. Toomey now stocks the desk with sweets from his home state, such as Twizzlers, Three Musketeers, and Hershey bars and Kisses since Hershey is headquartered in Pennsylvania. The sweets are shared with members on both sides of the aisle. There is no eating allowed on the Senate floor, however, though I doubt the rule is carefully followed.
There’s another object in the Senate that isn’t quite as sweet as the candy desk.