Florida's week-long candidate qualifying period opened Monday with a "Rocky" start -- literally -- as candidates for hundreds of federal, state and county offices got on the ballot.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Democrat "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente ponied up a check for $10,440 to run for U.S. Senate. De La Fuente, who has been running a shoestring campaign for president, likely would be the fourth name on the Democratic primary ballot, joining U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith. De La Fuente got the Dave Barry treatment ("a loon with four buses in Iowa!") in The Miami Herald as he sought votes in that state's caucuses in January.
The first candidate in line when the qualifying window opened was Alex Barrio, a Democrat seeking an Orlando House seat being vacated by Rep. Victor Torres' move to seek an open Senate seat.
"A lot of people will consider jumping in or jumping out," said Barrio, who has served brief stints as a legislative aide and in the Senate Democratic Office. He asked reporters: "Can you remember an election that's this volatile?"
Heath Rassner, 29, of Kendall, an FIU student, arrived wearing a wool cap and filed papers to run as a Democrat for the District 119 House seat in southwest Miami-Dade, a Republican district represented by Rep. Jeannette Nunez. Rassner said his enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy prompted him to run for office himself, and the political novice showed candor seen too rarely among politicians.
Asked if he believes he can win, Rassner said: "No. But it's worth a shot."