The Republican nominee for United States senator from New York refers to America by feminine pronouns, as in “her borders” and “her values.”
She once apologized when using a vulgar word to describe her opponent’s economic policies, and paused demurely when searching for a family-friendly synonym for one’s rear end, settling finally, with a smile, on “derrière.”
When the Pledge of Allegiance was recited at a recent event, she pressed her hand to her heart — and, seconds after everyone else had moved on, kept it there.
That, at first glance, is Wendy E. Long, a former Supreme Court clerk and corporate litigator turned home-schooling mother and reluctant politician. Once an unsuccessful challenger to Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, she will soon be, in all likelihood, an unsuccessful challenger to another Democrat, Senator Charles Schumer.
Then comes the second glance, and the third.
After the recent bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey, she said of Mr. Schumer in a statement: “When will Chuck Schumer wake up — when they start beheading people in Central Park?”
Warning of the dangers of allowing anyone who “practices or supportsShariah” to enter the country, Ms. Long said in another news release: “The time to fight back is now. We must stop blaming America and defend America and civilization itself.”
And at a time when many Republicans across the country are quarantining themselves from Donald J. Trump, their nominee for president, amid a scandal over sexually predatory comments he made about women, Ms. Long is set to travel to suburban Albany on Wednesday to headline a rallyfor him. Its name: Women for Trump.
As a group, women for Trump would seem to be an increasingly endangered species. Yet Ms. Long, a mother of two, says she has supported Mr. Trump since before he announced his candidacy, and still does, despite finding his recorded comments from 2005 “repulsive.” Intelligent women, she said, would see that an 11-year-old tape had little bearing on today’s urgent issues.
“I do think it’s just words,” she said in a recent interview, adding that she had found Mr. Trump’s apologies sincere. “I don’t believe he’s ever raped anyone, which I do believe Bill Clinton has done, and Hillary Clinton has enabled that.”
Ms. Long, who grew up in a middle-class family in rural New Hampshire and entered Dartmouth College only a few years after it began admitting women, is evidently more than comfortable being what she wryly calls “a political orphan.”
This is a quality she also admires in Mr. Trump, whom she praised for what she called his unpolished, uncalculated style — “He’s not your typical mealy-mouthed politician” — and his gusto for pulping elite orthodoxies. But even if Ms. Long says Mr. Trump’s candidacy spurred her moonshot bid for the Senate and shaped much of her current thinking about immigration (build a wall), Muslim refugees (the country needs “extreme vetting”) and trade (keep American jobs American), her politics are no dalliance.
“I’ve never really fit in,” she said, whether at a big law firm or on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where she lives. “I’m kind of a small-town girl.”
When her children tell her they are politically isolated at school, she assures them, “There are a lot of people on this tiny island,” she said, “but it’s a big world out there.”
Unlike her party’s standard-bearer, Ms. Long comes across as warmly conciliatory, cocooning her sophistication and a formidable single-mindedness in an easy relatability. She operates with a staff made up mostly of a few political rookies because, she said, the campaign should be about “everyday people,” and she takes public transportation to her events. Like many New Yorkers, she is tormented regularly by stranded subways, children’s colds and far too many voice mail messages.
Hitching her campaign to Mr. Trump’s has appeared — to adapt a phrase from the presidential nominee — to unshackle Ms. Long from the mainstream Republican principles she said she once embraced, “mealy-mouthed” rhetoric and all.
Still, said Michael R. Long, chairman of the New York Conservative Party, which has endorsed her, she is not merely parroting Mr. Trump, but rather “speaking on her own behalf.” (Mr. Long is no relation.)
In August, Ms. Long ignited controversy during a visit to Syracuse by using Twitter to suggest that a mosque that had replaced a local church was somehow linked to a rise in crime. That prompted Representative John Katko, a Republican who represents the area, to condemn her postings as “ill-informed, disgraceful and stupid.” (Ms. Long insisted she was simply criticizing Democratic policies for hastening urban decay.)
Mr. Schumer, she told the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, a far-right group, was “one of the greatest enemies of the Constitution.” Last month she told members of the Bronx Republican Party that he was a crony of big media and big banks, “a little weaselly clone of Hillary Clinton” who had “never worked a day in his life.”
In contrast, she plans, if elected, to limit herself to two terms in Congress, and has proposed taking a government salary no higher than the median American household income — about $53,000.
In a 10-point platform, she pledges to “support English as the only official language of the United States,” endorses building a wall along the Mexican border and promises to work to restore “Judeo-Christian culture” to the country.
Ms. Long, who regularly wears a pin with an Arabic letter used by the Islamic State to mark the homes of Christians in the territory it controls, said she was puzzled as to why the powers that be — including the media and the Obama administration — were ignoring what she described as the genocide of Christians in the Middle East.
Since the federal government cannot guarantee that all of the Muslim refugees it admits into the United States have no terrorist sympathies, she said, Christian refugees should take priority, while Muslim refugees should be sent to “safe spaces” elsewhere in the Middle East.
Ms. Long also said she had applied for a concealed carry permit, so that if and when terrorists do attack New York again, she could be “part of the solution.”
Such convictions date to her time at Dartmouth, beginning in 1978, where she started to explore Catholicism and served as an editor on The Dartmouth Review, a conservative publication known then for challenging liberal totems with incendiary articles about affirmative action, race, sexual orientation and feminism. (Friends from The Review include Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative author and filmmaker, and Laura Ingraham, the radio talk-show host who first introduced Ms. Long to Mr. Trump.)
Her résumé braids elite credentials with conservative fervor. After working for two Republican senators in Washington, she clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas — “the greatest living American,” in her words — and married a fellow clerk, Arthur Long, who is now a partner at the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
When the couple moved to New York, where Mr. Long grew up, she worked as a litigator at Kirkland & Ellis before helping to found the Judicial Confirmation Network, now known as the Judicial Crisis Network, which pushed for the confirmations of right-leaning Supreme Court nominees.
Her latest endeavor involved home-schooling her two children, a daughter and a son, in part because she did not think her daughter’s private school, Sacred Heart, was “Catholic enough,” and because her son was expelled from his private school, St. Bernard’s, after a disciplinary issue.
Ms. Long’s only other political campaign was against Senator Gillibrand in 2012, a race she lost by more than 40 points. After the uphill slog of running with Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket, she said, only someone like Mr. Trump, who she believed would fight to carry New York, could inspire her to try again.
“It’s a sacrifice for me.” she said. “It’s not really something I want to do. I don’t love the idea of being a U.S. senator; I love the idea of being a mother. But nobody else is willing to do it, and this country is on the edge.”