Following the money: How Mississippi Senate candidates are spending campaign cash


In the heart of southwest Jackson, obscured amidst fast food chains, a Walmart, an elementary school and a nursing home, whirs one of the most important institutions in Mississippi politics.
Located just off U.S. Highway 18, A2Z Printing is housed in a white one-story building. In the past few years, the print shop has been hired by most Mississippi U.S. Senate campaigns to print posters, yard signs, lapel stickers, direct mail, postcards, fundraising letters, fans and other campaign materials.
Of the major-party candidates on the ballot this November, only state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, and Tobey Bartee of Gautier haven’t hired A2Z, campaign-finance records show. 
But Allen Taheri, cofounder of A2Z, makes it clear that they don’t see Democratic blue or Republican red — just dollar green. In all, campaigns have spent $64,546 at Taheri’s shop during the current cycle, according to records.
“This is a nonpartisan business,” Taheri said. “It’s purely built on capitalism, and that’s how we run it.”
At the end of the day, Taheri said, A2Z is the only print shop in the state that can meet the high demands of politicians come election time.
“If you came to me and you were running for office, and you said, ‘I need 5,000 signs,’ the normal turnaround from a screen printer would be to 2 to 3 weeks,” he said. “When you come to me and ask that, I’ll say, ‘Okay, we’ll turn that job in 3 days.’ Who are you going to give the job to?”
Taheri, along with co-founder Hootan Tabari, invested in high-grade printers that can produce thousands of yard signs in under two hours.
Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi TodayAllen Taheri (left) and Hootan Tabari are the co-founders of A2Z, which started in 2006.
In the 1980s, Taheri and Tabari emigrated from Iran to Mississippi and Louisiana, respectively. As engineering students, they didn’t know much