Rocky road: Running for Senate in six states, and against Rick Scott

The bi-coastal candidate is simultaneously running for office in Florida and California.
Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente []
Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente []
Published June 5, 2018|Updated June 5, 2018

Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente is running for the U.S. Senate in Florida. He's Gov. Rick Scott's only challenger in the Republican primary.

But before facing Scott in August, De La Fuente has a date with California voters in today's primary — where he's one of 32 Senate candidates. A San Diego native, car dealer and land developer, he's also running for the Senate in Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

A critic of what he claims is widespread election fraud, it's his way of showing that laws need to be tightened. "We need to have election integrity," De La Fuente says.

And since he's running for office in multiple states, it also makes sense to register to vote in multiple states, right?

"I already voted in California," De La Fuente told the Times/Herald, "and I intend to move to Florida by Wednesday." He registered to vote in Miami-Dade County last month. (The U.S. Constitution requires senators to be residents of their states at the time of election).

Voting more than once in the same election is a crime. Registering to vote in more than one place is not, election officials say, but it is extremely rare for someone to talk about it, especially a candidate for high office.

It's easy to dismiss De La Fuente as a fringe candidate just looking for attention, but he has a chance to pull off a surprise victory today in California, a state with nonpartisan primaries in which the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

The latest statewide poll by Stanford University shows De La Fuente, an unknown, in second place at 21 percent behind the front-runner, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, at 35 percent in a field of 32.

That prompted a Los Angeles Times editorial writer to sound the alarm with readers and warn that he's just another rich guy trying to buy his way into public office. His son Ricardo is a Democratic candidate for Congress in South Florida, running against U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami.

A second poll by UC Berkeley had De La Fuente far behind the leaders. If he finishes in the top two tonight, De La Fuente says he'll have to rethink his Florida strategy.

His website says he supports abortion rights, "reasonable" gun restrictions and the Affordable Care Act, and opposes putting non-violent offenders in prison. In an interview, he called President Donald Trump "a bully."

De La Fuente is a registered Republican who initially ran for president as a Democrat in 2016, and became the Reform Party's nominee. He got one-tenth of 1 percent of the vote in Florida, or about 9,000 votes.

As for Florida's race, De La Fuente says: "Rick Scott has to beat Bill Nelson. But first he has to go through me."