Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places

Tales and Rules from the Campaign Trail

Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places
Editions:Paperback - First Edition: $ 16.99 USD
ISBN: 9781682307991
Size: 6.00 x 8.80 in
Pages: 248
ePub - First Edition: $ 9.99 USD
Pages: 248

Rick Ridder, a long-time political strategist who has been called “a political version of Columbo,” has been at the center of some of America’s most epic political battles—everything from presidential death matches to the legalization of marijuana. In Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places, Rick takes us on a whirlwind spin through his eventful career from the McGovern campaign to more recent candidates and causes. As he does so, he reveals his “22 rules of campaign management”—each one illustrated by entertaining, instructive, and mostly true stories from his own experiences.


Among the unforgettable characters he presents are:


  • The state legislature candidate who said he’d win the election thanks to his international reputation as a judge in cat competitions.
  • The U.S. Senate candidate campaigning in a southern state who told the press, “I hate southern accents.”
  • A young Senator Al Gore who campaigned for President in 1988 by eating his way through New York City alongside Mayor Koch and ended up bonding with his opponent, Jesse Jackson, over high-school football.
  • The candidate’s wife who decided to celebrate the arrival of spring by traveling bare-breasted in a convertible on her way to a campaign event.
  • The mysterious South American candidate who just might have had a distinctive “negative” on his résumé: murder.
  • Julie Christie at the height of her fame and attraction, on her way to a private meeting with George McGovern.
  • Leonard Nimoy, good-naturedly trekking through rural Wisconsin in Rick’s own Jeep because Rick was still too young to rent a more appropriate vehicle.

Ridder offers an unsparing, often hilarious self-portrait of the political guru as a young man, criss-crossing the country from one drafty campaign headquarters to the next, making mistakes and pulling rabbits out of hats, participating in practical jokes, wrangling temperamental celebrities, winning some elections and losing others. All the while, he has absorbed life and professional lessons like a sponge and developed into the trusted political veteran he is today.


Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places is a rare and enthralling backstage view of national and international politics over four decades—and an opportunity to spend time in the company of one of its most engaging operatives.

Publisher: Rick Ridder
Reviews:ROSE KAPOLCZYNSKI, long-time California political consultant and campaign manager for Barbara Boxer’s campaigns wrote:

“Rick Ridder takes us on a hilarious ride along the campaign trail, from the Iowa caucuses to Italian hill towns. Along the way, he introduces us to every kind of candidate and campaign, from the earnest but misguided to the wildly undisciplined. Beneath the humor, Rick shares savvy and practical observations from the real world of politics.”

STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, president of EMILY’s List wrote:

“There is no doubt that Rick knows the rules of the road when it comes to campaigns. Anyone looking to work in politics should take Rick’s advice: work hard, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to say ‘yes, I’ll get in my car and drive through the night for the next job’―you never know where you’ll end up.”


“Rick Ridder is one of the most experienced and wryly thoughtful campaign operatives in the world and this book is both insightful and hilarious!”

MARK McKINNON, co-founder of No Labels, co-creator and co-host of The Circus wrote:

“There are so many fascinating elements to campaigns that the public never hears about. Incredible characters, plots, drama. Rick Ridder has seen and done it all. In the United States and around the world, Rick has compiled his stories into a riveting book that tells all and reveals what it is really like to be in the back room when the political deals are being cut.”

MERYL GORDON, author of New York Times bestseller Mrs. Astor’s Regrets wrote:

“A political insider’s rollicking tales―wise, funny and insightful.”


"From the moment I reached out for editorial and production assistance to the delivery of the final product, Radius walked me, a book-publishing novice, through the stages of the production. Their editorial support was superb which made for a much better book.  They are good people doing a good job."