Rocky De La Fuente
Rocky De La Fuente
Roque De La Fuente Guerra
October 10, 1954
|Political party||Republican (2018–present)|
American Delta (2016)
De La Fuente was the nominee of both the Reform Party and his self-created American Delta Party for President of the United States in the 2016 election. That year he was also an unsuccessful candidate in the Democratic primary for United States senator from Florida and for the Democratic presidential nomination.
During the 2018 elections, De La Fuente was on the ballot in nine states' primaries for United States Senate, all of which he lost. He campaigned as a critic of President Donald Trump's immigration policies.
In 2020, he is running for the Republican nomination in the Presidential election. He simultaneously ran for the U.S. House of Representatives representing California's 21st district, but lost in the March primary.
Early life and educationEdit
De La Fuente was born on October 10, 1954, at Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California, the son of automobile dealer and business park developer Roque Antonio De La Fuente Alexander (circa 1923 – 2002) and Bertha Guerra Yzaguirre. His parents raised him in Mexico (Mexico City, Tijuana, Baja California), and in the United States (San Diego and Anaheim). He was educated by his parents and the Legionaries of Christ, the Marist Brothers, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart, Daughters of the Holy Spirit and the Jesuits. De La Fuente earned a B.S. in physics and mathematics from the Instituto Patria National Autonomous University of Mexico, and studied accounting and business administration at Anahuac University near Mexico City.
Between 1976 and 1990 (when he took over his father's automobile dealerships after his father had had a stroke), De La Fuente acquired 28 automobile franchises for Alfa Romeo, American Motors Corporation, Audi, Cadillac, Chrysler, Daihatsu, Dodge, GMC, Honda, and other brands. He also opened three banks (one national bank approved by the OCC and two state charter banks approved by the California Banking Commission and the FDIC), assisted living facilities in Los Angeles and Lemon Grove, California, and eleven currency exchange locations in the United States and Mexico.
In 1997, De La Fuente received a settlement of $38.7 million from San Diego County for land belonging to him and his father, that the county had taken to build a prison on.
In 2004, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued an order barring De La Fuente from participating in any FDIC-insured institution. De La Fuente appealed and the 9th Circuit reversed half the order and advised the FDIC to reconsider its sentence, stating that "De La Fuente's use of [First International Bank] as his personal piggy bank was in shocking disregard of sound banking practices and the law to the detriment of depositors, shareholders, and the public. Nevertheless, we remand this matter to the Board for it to consider, in light of this disposition, whether this extraordinary sanction remains deserved."
De La Fuente campaigned for president in the 2016. He sought the Democratic Party's nomination during their presidential primaries. His campaign did not win a single primary or a single delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
De La Fuente founded the American Delta Party and ran as that party's nominee with his running mate Michael Steinberg. He was also the presidential nominee of the Reform Party, which had ballot access in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Mississippi. Although De La Fuente's platform was at odds with the Reform Party platform he was able to get his supporters to vote within its primaries. De La Fuente received 33,136 votes in the general election, 0.02% of the total popular vote. He received no electoral votes. In the popular vote De La Fuente placed eighth overall, behind the Democratic Party's Hillary Clinton, Republican Party's Donald Trump, Libertarian Party's Gary Johnson, Green Party's Jill Stein, independent Evan McMullin, Constitution Party's Darrell Castle, and Party for Socialism and Liberation's Gloria LaRiva.
In 2016, De La Fuente and Stein sued the state of Oklahoma over the state's high requirement for petitions. They dismissed the suit in 2017 after Oklahoma eased their requirements. In February 2018, De La Fuente won two court cases slightly easing ballot access requirements in Virginia and Washington. De La Fuente's history of ballot access suits and his victories received a write-up from the Federal Judicial Center.
On June 20, 2016, De La Fuente paid the $10,440 qualifying fee to run for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 election for US senator from Florida, over a seat then occupied by Republican Marco Rubio. He competed with Patrick Murphy, Alan Grayson, Pam Keith, and Reginald Luster for the nomination. Murphy won the nomination; De La Fuente came in fourth-place out of five candidates, receiving 60,606 votes (5.38% of the overall vote).
De La Fuente sought the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York City in the 2017 election. He joined the race claiming that private polling data showed him defeating the two Republican candidates who were then entered, Paul Massey and Michel Faulkner.
De La Fuente's candidacy ran into problems with his lack of residency. City law requires candidates to be residents of the city prior to election. De La Fuente's campaign said that he had attempted to purchase an apartment, that the building's management refused to interview him because he was Hispanic, and that they might make a federal court case out of this matter.
On March 28, De La Fuente debated mayoral contenders Kevin Coenen, Mike Tolkin, independent Bo Dietl, Democratic challenger Sal Albanese and Republican Faulkner in an event hosted by the Reform Party of New York State (which is not affiliated with the Reform Party of the United States of America).
After both Faulkner and Massey suspended their campaigns, only De La Fuente and Nicole Malliotakis remained in the Republican primary. However, two Malliotakis supporters, with the blessing of her campaign, filed objections to De La Fuente's ballot petition signatures. On August 1, the New York City Board of Elections found that De La Fuente did not have sufficient valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, effectively ending De La Fuente's candidacy and leaving Malliotakis unopposed for the nomination.
De La Fuente ran for US Senate in nine states in 2018, seeking to show problems with the current election process, which he called "Loony Toons!" On February 26, 2018, he filed to run for the 2018 Senate election in California under the Republican Party to unseat incumbent Dianne Feinstein, but failed in the June 5 primary. He came ninth place out of a field of 35, garnering 135,109 votes for 2% of the total. In a primary system where only the top two make it to the final ballot, this ended his candidacy. On August 8, his candidacy for Senate in Washington state came to an end in the open primary where he was one of the 32 candidates. In Florida, De La Fuente lost the Republican primary to his only challenger, Governor Rick Scott. He also lost primaries in Wyoming, Hawaii, Minnesota, Vermont, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
Some commentators criticized De La Fuente's campaign efforts. The Washington Post noted that in both Hawaii and Vermont, he drew enough votes that he theoretically may have changed the election, as had those same votes had been redirected to the second place candidate instead, that candidate would have won. Jim Camden, a columnist for The Columbian, wrote that "for this year's primaries [...] it's clear the biggest loser was Rocky De La Fuente."
In January 2017, De La Fuente stated in a court filing that he intended to again seek the Democratic Party nomination in the 2020 presidential election. He again asserted plans to seek the presidency in the wake of his 2018 election failures.
However, De La Fuente is running as a Republican instead. As of January 30, 2020, he had raised $17,253 from outside sources and had loaned his own campaign $15.13 million, of which the campaign had returned $8.2 million. For the Republican primaries, has qualified as a candidate in California (where he has also qualified for the ballot for the American Independent Party), Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois (where he is on the ballot but does not have delegate candidates to support him), Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont, and filed in New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. He filed in Tennessee but did not end up on the ballot.
His candidacy survived a challenge in Alabama, but he withdrew from the state before the ballot was set. He also withdrew from Arkansas, Colorado, and Missouri. His withdrawals from Arkansas and Utah came too late to keep him from appearing on the ballot. He chose to remain in Connecticut's delayed primary, despite pressure from the state's Republican Party chairman.
As of March 10, he had received 0.36% of the 9.9 million votes that had been cast in Republican primaries, and had not earned any delegates.
His failure to make the initial candidate list in Michigan led both to his stating an intention to get on the ballot through submission of petitions and to his campaign manager filing a suit on behalf of a Michigan voter seeking to have De La Fuente on the ballot. He did not end up on the ballot. The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected a similar petition on January 9; in that state, the Republican party dictated the candidate list. Some states are foregoing Republican primaries for the 2020 cycle, with the Republican leadership in those states having selected incumbent president Donald Trump as their nominee. De La Fuente has named Trump, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and various state Republican parties in a suit claiming that there was inappropriate coordination in an attempt to prevent competing candidates for the nomination.
In 2019 De La Fuente filed one of five lawsuits that arose against a California law requiring candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the state's primary ballots. That law, which was seen as targeted against the incumbent Donald Trump, was blocked by a federal judge. De La Fuente also requested a U.S. Supreme Court review of a Ninth Circuit court decision which approved California's requirements for ballot access by independent candidates, and mounted a federal challenge to Georgia's granting political parties ultimate control over who appears on their ballots; parties in Florida and Minnesota have similar control. After the lawsuit was filed, Georgia's Republican party submitted a ballot listing only incumbent Donald Trump as a candidate, choosing not to list De La Fuente and three other candidates who had been under consideration.
De La Fuente's son Roque De La Fuente III has entered the Democratic presidential primaries in California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire, Texas, and Utah. The father has stated that he has a goal of creating a political dynasty.
De La Fuente ran as a Republican in the campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives seat for California's 21st district. (Unlike most other states, California has no law prohibiting simultaneously running for the presidency and for Congress.) His son Ricardo ran for the same seat as a Democrat. Neither De La Fuente lives in the district. Rocky felt that his candidacy will help his son's chances of getting the seat, which was the outcome he desired. Neither De La Fuente succeeded, coming in third (Ricardo) and fourth (Rocky) in a four-candidate jungle primary in which the top two vote getters compete in the general election. (On the same day, Ricardo, who had previously run for the House from California's 34th and Florida's 23rd districts, won the primary for U.S. representative for Texas's 27th district, also as a Democrat.)
|2016 Democratic presidential primaries|
|Rocky De La Fuente||67,468||0.22|
|Paul T. Farrell, Jr.||21,694||0.07|
|Keith Russell Judd||20,305||0.07|
|John Wolfe Jr.||7,369||0.02|
|Lawrence "Larry Joe" Cohen||2,407||0.01|
|Calvis L. Hawes||2,017||0.01|
|David John Thistle||226||0.00|
|Others (fewer than 100 votes each)||346||0.00|
|2016 United States presidential election|
|Presidential candidate||Party||Popular vote||Electoral vote||Vice-presidential candidate|
|Donald Trump||Republican||62,984,828||45.93||306||304||Mike Pence|
|Hillary Clinton||Democratic||65,853,514||48.02||232||227||Tim Kaine|
|Gary Johnson||Libertarian||4,489,235||3.27||0||0||Bill Weld|
|Jill Stein||Green||1,457,226||1.06%||0||0||Ajamu Baraka|
|Evan McMullin||(Independent)||732,273||0.53%||0||0||Mindy Finn|
|Darrell Castle||Constitution Party||203,091||0.15%'||0||0||Scott Bradley|
|Gloria La Riva||Socialism and Liberation||74,405||0.05%||0||0||Eugene Puryear|
|Rocky De La Fuente||American Delta and Reform||33,136||0.02||0||0||Michael Steinberg|
U.S. Senate primariesEdit
|2016 Florida Democratic Senate Primary election results|
|Rocky De La Fuente||60,810||5.4|
- 2018 Senate primaries
|California||Nonpartisan blanket||June 5||135,279||2.1||Dianne Feinstein, Kevin de León|
|Washington||Nonpartisan blanket||Aug 8||5,724||0.34||Maria Cantwell, Susan Hutchison|
|Hawaii||Republican||Aug 11||3,075||9.4||Ron Curtis|
|Minnesota||Republican||Aug 14||17,051||5.9||Jim Newberger|
|Vermont||Republican||Aug 14||1,057||2.9||Brooke Paige|
|Wyoming||Republican||Aug 21||1,280||1.1||John Barrasso|
|Florida||Republican||Aug 28||187,209||11.4||Rick Scott|
|Delaware||Republican||Sep 6||1,998||5.3||Robert Arlett|
|Rhode Island||Republican||Sep 12||3,722||12.3%||Robert Flanders|
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- "Rocky De La Fuente and Jill Stein Dismiss their Oklahoma Appeal, Given that Petition Requirement Has Been Eased". Ballot Access News.
- "Rocky De La Fuente Wins Virginia Ballot Access Lawsuit". Ballot Access News. January 10, 2018.
- "Rocky De La Fuente Wins Washington State Ballot Access Case". Ballot Access News. February 22, 2018.
- "A Minor Candidate's Suits to Be on Presidential Election Ballots" (PDF). Federal Judicial Center. September 5, 2019. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
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- Kochman, Ben (March 29, 2017). "Long-shot mayoral candidates battle over big issues, but united in trashing de Blasio". www.nydailynews.com. New York Daily News. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
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- De La Hoz, Felipe (August 6, 2017). "Removal of Last Primary Opponent Could Cost Malliotakis". www.gothammgazette.com. Gotham Gazette. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
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- Fischer, Reuben (September 25, 2018). "Rocky De La Fuente ran in nine Senate primaries and lost them all". Washington Post. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
- "Camden: Recount challenges, status among primary concerns". The Columbian. September 26, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
- Winger, Richard (January 10, 2017). "Rocky De La Fuente Tells Court that He Plans to Seek Democratic Party Nomination for President in 2020". Ballot Access News. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
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- Michael Moline (February 13, 2020). "Time's running out to register to vote in Florida's presidential primaries". Florida Phoenix. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
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- "16 Democrats, 3 Republicans qualify for Tennessee's presidential primary". WPSD Local 6.
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- "Rocky De La Fuente Withdraws from Some Republican Presidential Primaries | Ballot Access News".
- Benson County, Arkansas sample ballot, retrieved February 20, 2020
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- "Petition takes aim at state GOP's decision to limit 2020 primary choices to President Trump". Star Tribune.
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- Roque De La Fuente v. Donald J. Trump, et al legal filing
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- Rocky campaign website
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Columnist Dave Barry on meeting De La Fuente
- "De La Fuente: The man challenging Clinton, Sanders". WOOD-TV. March 4, 2016.
- Rocky and Ricky De La Fuente interview on KGET regarding their competing Congressional run in California's 21st District, February 16, 2020
|Party political offices|
| Reform nominee for President of the United States