A political outsider who grew wealthy from real estate and business deals is running for U.S. president.
His name isn’t Donald Trump.
Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, 61, a developer in San Diego, will be a ballot candidate in the Kansas Democratic Party’s presidential caucus March 5. Also qualifying by the deadline Monday were former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont.
De La Fuente understands the comparison to New York developer Trump, running for the Republican presidential nomination, but said he’s not cocky like Trump. Also, De La Fuente finds Trump’s insults offensive, he said in phone interview Tuesday.
De La Fuente said he’s “as conservative as they come,” but he believes in a safety net for the least fortunate, and that explains why he’s a Democrat and not a Republican. He wants to rein in spending and has “street sense.” He also does not think the U.S. can police all international conflicts.
Getting on the ballot
Caucuses will help determine the makeup of the Kansas delegation to the Democratic nominating convention this summer in Philadelphia. The list of Democratic caucus locations has not been released, but Kansas Democrats’ executive director Kerry Gooch thought the Hutchinson area would host the caucus for the 34th State Senate District. That district covers Reno County and northern Kingman County. Those participating in the Kansas Democratic Party caucus must be at least 18 years old by or on Nov. 8, 2016, and must be registered as a Democrat, which they will be able to do on the day of the caucus.
Kansas Democrats set the entry fee for candidates at $2,500. All four candidates paid the fee instead of filing by signature petition.
De La Fuente said he was “first on the ballot” in some states, such as Alabama and Arkansas. “And I plan to win,” he said.
So far he’s on the ballot in 34 out of 36 primaries/caucuses. He noted that O’Malley failed to qualify for the Ohio primary ballot, leaving Clinton, Sanders and De La Fuente to battle for a slice of that delegate pie. That’s one reason De La Fuente discounts O’Malley’s overall chances. That leaves Sanders – “extreme left,” he said – and Clinton. She’s “incompetent,” De La Fuente said.
If he wasn’t nominated, which of the three would he favor? “None of the above,” he said.
Will De La Fuente campaign in Kansas? “Of course,” he said, repeatedly.
De La Fuente was a delegate to the 1992 Democratic presidential nominating convention and his preferred candidate was Jerry Brown, now California governor. He eventually voted for Bill Clinton, but that wasn’t his first choice.
Gooch sent a fundraising email blast Tuesday, seeking donations to the Kansas Democratic Party. He noted the March caucus “will be one of our biggest operating expenses of the year.”
The Kansas Republican Party will conduct its presidential caucus March 5, as well. The candidate-entry period for that caucus remains open.