Running for Congress in Trump’s Backyard

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In his book, “Running for Congress in Trump’s Backyard,” a Republican recounts his 2016 contest against Rep. Carolyn Maloney


  • Robert Ardini and Ann Coulter. Photo: Matt LoCastro

From Chapter 8

“I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.” This is the famous lyric from a song from the 1936 movie “Swing Time” and was exactly how I felt leading up to my final two (#s 11 & 12) attempts at reaching out to Mr. Trump. I didn’t know it at the time but I saved the best for last, and I say this with a grin: Kellyanne Conway. Need I say more? My thoughts about Kellyanne (no last name necessary) are the same as Mr. Trump. The woman has an appealing edge to her which makes her exceptionally interesting. My thought was that I had to convince Kellyanne it was important for Mr. Trump’s CAMPAIGN, that he at least be familiar with the Republican running for Congress in his own District. That shouldn’t be difficult, as it seemed like common sense to me.

The message was the easy thing. All I had to do was assemble a few of my better campaign materials with a super short cover note identifying myself and expressing my willingness to meet Mr. Trump, clearly making the point that I was sure he’d like to be familiar with the Congressional Candidate in his District. Delivery was the problem. I couldn’t expect to simply pick up the phone or send an email. I decided the best way to ‘get at her’ was hand delivery, but just not your ordinary hand delivery.

This was yet another incidence where my marketing/advertising background came in very helpful. Long ago, I learned that ‘presentation’ is everything. So Kellyanne’s ‘by hand’ delivery arrived to her in a beautiful deep red large envelope made from quality stock. And of course it was artistically addressed. But the kicker was the live, fragrant, mauve rose perched atop; this was quite appropo because the rose is our national flower.

What was particularly ‘tongue in cheek’ about this ‘by hand’ delivery (known to me but not Kellyanne) was that the specific variety of the rose I used was named Barbra Streisand - for the famed singer, songwriter, actress, filmmaker, and staunch supporter of the DEMOCRAT Party. I really didn’t intentionally choose that rose; it was the only one I had in bloom that day.

Timing of this delivery was also key. It was now late September. Kellyanne’s office was at Trump Tower which was a zoo whenever The Donald was in residence. We had to wait for just the right time when we knew Mr. Trump was out of town and Kellyanne was in town, and preferably in the building. On June 25th my Campaign Manager, Gary, took the subway to make pilgrimage to Trump Tower to ‘perform’ the delivery. He successfully got it in the hands of a Secret Service employee. Mission accomplished. Gary hung around the area for a while and then sort of asked the same Secret Service gentleman if all was OK with the envelope. Without actually saying it, the Secret Service man somehow implied that he delivered it to Kellyanne himself. Now we just had to wait for Kellyanne to respond, as it was impossible to follow-up with her in any way.

After a few weeks transpired and ‘no Kellyanne,’ now in October, we re-executed the delivery with two changes. In red, I hand wrote on the cover note something like “second request, please reply.” And, instead of the live rose, I secured two mini chocolate bars to the envelope with (professional printed) wrappers that read “Ardini For Congress” and “A Republican Even a Democrat Can Like.”™

From Chapter 10

No commentary on the Manhattan Republican Party would be complete without mention of the Metropolitan Republican Club, a.k.a. Met Club. The Met Club, is located in the townhouse on East 83rd Street where I first met Chairwoman Adele Malpass to explore the possibility of running. Technically, the Met Club exists to serve the Assembly District in which it is located. However, many people, including myself, think of it as the core of the Republican Party in the tri-state area.

As impressive as it is for a County Political Party to have its headquarters in its own townhouse, even though the 1930’s building is kept clean and painted, and the necessary repairs are made, in my opinion, it is long overdue for a multi-million dollar renovation. Part of that renovation might include making the building handicap-accessible, and better utilizing whatever outdoor space might exist. I’ve floated the idea of establishing an endowment for the building among the powers that be, but no one took me up on it. Probably because, understandably, the dollars donated to such an endowment, might mean less money contributed to political campaigns.

What the Met Club does best, and like no other, is to present a wide array of programs given by the who’s who in all things Republican. No name is too big for the Met Club.

My observation is that these events seem to draw more single people than couples. I speculate that’s because of the usual 6:30 P.M. meeting time. Most Republicans pride themselves on their family values, so it’s probably important to them to be home having dinner with their family at that hour. It would be interesting to see if more couples attend if the start time was changed to 8:00 p.m. — like Broadway shows.

But don’t expect to find too many partisan-to-a-fault Republicans. Yes, of course, many of our members are socially conservative; but in my opinion, just as many are socially moderate to liberal. In fact, only once did I experience something, in my opinion, too partisan. Some of the meeting notices referenced “crooked Hillary.” I sent a note stating that although that might work for Mr. Trump, I thought we, as a club, should refrain from that level of communication. The ‘crooked Hillary’ reference continued. I guess the powers that be felt that I should just concentrate on my campaign.

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