Santorum's trademark sweater vests are Minnesota-made

Santorum: Giving Mr. Rogers a run for his money with Minnesota-made sweaters.
Santorum: Giving Mr. Rogers a run for his money with Minnesota-made sweaters.

Rick Santorum's unlikely surge in Iowa is paying dividends all the way up in Bemidji.

Santorum has ordered hundreds of sweater vests from the Bemidji Woolen Mills. The vests -- complete with a campaign logo embroidered on the chest -- will be sent to anyone donating $100 or more to Santorum's fledgeling presidential campaign.

The former Pennsylvania senator said the sweater vests brought him good luck in Iowa, where he was eventually named the winner of the Iowa caucus.

The owner of the woolen mills told the Bemidji Pioneer that "all hands are on deck" to produce the nearly 1,000 vests the Santorum campaign ordered. After they are produced at the mills, the sweaters are then sent to another local business for embroidering.

Talk about trying to revitalize main street!

Santorum reportedly got connected with the Bemidji Woolen Mills after he asked his staffers to find an American manufacturer to mass-produce his trademark vests. A staffer's father had a professional relationship with the Bemidji Woolen Mills and suggested the campaign work with the northern Minnesota company.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Though now that Santorum is spending most of his time campaigning in sultry Florida, he probably won't be donning his Minnesota-made sweaters as often as he did in Iowa.

The woolen mills' fourth-generation owner, Bill Batchelder, told the Pioneer he wasn't surprised to see Santorum's campaign surge once he started regularly wearing sweater vests in Iowa.

"Bemidji full well knows the power of the vest," he said.

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