Roque De La Fuente wants to create a political dynasty
Running for political office has become a family affair for the De La Fuentes. It seems they can’t get enough of it.
Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente II waged a long-shot presidential campaign in 2016 as a Democrat. Last year, he ran for U.S. Senate in nine states. Now, he’s running for president again, this time under the banner of the Republican Party and the American Independent Party.
In several states, he’ll appear on the ballot along with his 36-year-old son, Roque De La Fuente III, who is running as a Democrat. The father recently said he’s on the presidential primary ballot in 14 states, a number he expects to more than double. He said his son has qualified in eight states so far, another number expected to grow. Both are running for president in California.
The 65-year-old San Diego millionaire businessman also is a candidate in the 21st Congressional District in the southern San Joaquin Valley. So is his 30-year-old son, Ricardo. The patriarch is running as a Republican, the son as a Democrat. His son doesn’t live there, either. And Ricardo also is running in a Texas congressional district; he ran for one in Florida last year.
Due to quirks in election rules, all of this is legal.
The father’s political activity in recent years has gained him some national attention, though mostly as a curiosity. But by jumping into the congressional election at the last minute, the father and son have put themselves in the middle of one of the most hotly contested House campaigns in the nation. It’s not so much that one or both might advance to the November general election — anything can happen, but the odds would be long — but how they might affect the dynamics of the race.
The 21st District was one of seven Republican-held districts in California that Democrats flipped last year to take control of the House of Representatives. Democrat TJ Cox defeated then-Rep. David Valadao, a Republican, winning the race during a drawn-out vote count after trailing on election night. With Cox now the incumbent, Valadao is seeking a rematch in 2020.
How the De La Fuentes will impact the race is anybody’s guess, but they have serious resources at their disposal. De La Fuente, the father, spent more than $9 million on his previous campaigns and has pumped $10 million of his own money into his current presidential effort. He has spent $3.7 million so far, according to the Federal Elections Commission.
He has owned car dealerships and currency exchanges, and currently focuses on real estate development. He said he owns more than 2,000 acres of land in cities and states across the country. De La Fuente also has won tens of millions of dollars through litigation with the city and county of San Diego.
As for his congressional bid, De La Fuente noted that there has been an issue of whether Cox actually lives in the district and, by the way, he doesn’t think much of Valadao’s business acumen overseeing a dairy farm operation. Cox has lived in the district and did live in Maryland for a while, but the residency question continues to percolate in the campaign. De La Fuente acknowledged the irony of not living in the district himself, but added, “at least I live in California.”
Members of Congress don’t have to live in the district they serve, but they do have to reside in the state. (Had De La Fuente won any of the Senate races — he didn’t come close — he would have had to move to that state.)
Regardless, he mostly believes that his candidacy will improve the chances of his son, Ricardo.
“I would like him to be the congressman in the 21st,” he said.
Ricardo ran in a 2017 special election for the 34th Congressional District in Los Angeles County, placing 17th in the primary with .8 percent of the vote.
The duo’s entrance into the 21st District race was encouraged and aided by Vacaville native Mark Seidenberg, according to the San Joaquin Valley Sun. Seidenberg is chairman of the American Independent Party and has assisted the senior De La Fuente’s political endeavors in the past. Seidenberg doesn’t care for either Cox or Valadao, the Sun said.
So what’s the point of all this? Initially, it was to win. The father said he thought he had a decent shot at becoming the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, but claimed the Democratic National Committee rigged the process against him. He made broad accusations about votes being stolen.
He generally finished in primaries with between 0.0 percent (Wisconsin) and 1.09 percent (Delaware) of the vote. His best result, percentage-wise, was in the American Samoa caucus (5.91 percent, 14 votes).
At the outset of the 2016 campaign, he expressed optimism that he would gain 20 percent or more of the Ohio primary vote. He ended up with .76 percent. In the quest for the Democratic nomination, De La Fuente finished a distant third behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but won no delegates. He was not invited to any major Democratic debates or forums.
He continued on as a third-party candidate — he created the American Delta Party and also ran as the Reform Party nominee — to run in the fall election and finished eighth overall.
De La Fuente said he ran, in part, because he was dissatisfied with the major candidates. He found Donald Trump insulting to most everybody and wrong on certain policies, particularly immigration. De La Fuente favored a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants and opposed Trump’s extended border wall.
He wants to reduce regulations, which he maintains particularly hurt medium to small businesses and allow only large corporations to survive.
Given his dismal electoral results, and his contention that the system is rigged, why does he keep running for office — and paying handsomely for the privilege?
“For you, for me and for my kids. We have to show how corrupt the system is,” De La Fuente said, adding that he’s seeking to highlight ballot-access issues, among other things. “. . . I’m trying to expose the fraud in both parties.”
He said his multiple campaigns, and those of his sons, will build support over time. He noted that the United States is home to political dynasties, specifically mentioning the Kennedys and Bushes, which didn’t take root overnight.
He said he has the money, and the interested children, to build a political legacy over the long haul, even when he is no longer campaigning. He waged his first campaign in 2016, but seems even more enthused by the undertaking now. De La Fuente is invigorated by running for office, and not just at the national level. Local elections have also captured his imagination.
In 2017, between his previous presidential and Senate efforts, he made a short-lived bid for mayor of New York City.
By providing links to other sites generating news, rocky101.com does not guarantee, approve, or endorse the information or products available on these sites.
The only purpose is to spread the news and give credit to the proper news feed source as they have worked hard to keep the public inform. Please visit the link pages and support their efforts.
- KEEP IN TOUCH
619.229.4000 MEDIA & PRESS