Who is Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente and why is he on the Primary Ballot for the U.S. Senate?
When Al Franken was forced out of his U.S. Senate seat by the DFL, it gave Gov. Dayton the power to appoint his former chief of staff and Lt. Governor, Tina Smith to the seat. My theory has always been that Franken was doomed, not because the DFL objected to his boorish behavior. The DFL and Minnesota voters knew exactly who they were voting for and elected Al the Frankenstein anyway.
The DFL knew Franken was very vulnerable in 2020 to a GOP challenge, and wanted to make the seat safer for the Democrats by appointing someone less controversial. (That they picked Tina Smith, the former head of Planned Parenthood gives you an idea of what the DFL considers less controversial, but that is another story for another day.)
Franken did not stand a chance, especially once Republicans were dumb enough to chime in with the #MeToo crowd. Never mind that his crude prank took place before he was in the Senate, or that a U.S. Senator was denied even the pretense of due process. That Senate seat was a hot property and the DFL grabbed it with the GOP cheering them on.
Tina Smith, as the appointed Senator, is now running so she can serve for the remainder of the term (through 2020). And Sen. Amy Klobuchar is also up this year.
Who else is on the ballot? It might be a bit confusing to sort out. Smith is being challenged by a guy named Richard Painter who used to be a Republican. But now he says he is a Democrat. Plus, there is a slew of other candidates you and I have never heard of and never will except when we go to vote and mutter to ourselves, “Who are all these people?”
The GOP side is even more confusing. In addition to the endorsed GOP candidates, State Senator Karin Housley who is running for the old Franken seat, and State Senator Jim Newberger who is running against Klobuchar, there are several GOP candidates in both races named, wait, wait… “Anderson.” Of course.
Then there are some real odd-ball candidates: a guy named Nikolay Nikolayevich Bey (maybe this is more of that Russian Collusion Thing) and another guy named “Rocky” who is apparently from California! The only reason I know this is that I got an email today from a woman who just received her absentee ballot:
I received my absentee ballot for the primary on 8/14. In the list of 4 Republican candidates for Amy Klobuchar’s seat, a California resident is listed; Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente. In researching the names I was not familiar with, I came across this person. He is listed on 5 state ballots, according to his website. http://vote.rocky101.com/en_us/ In doing some further research, The Center for the American West is listed as touting him as a candidate.
I called the Secretary of State office to inquire how a California resident is on the Minnesota Republican ballot for US Senate. I was told that anyone can get on the ballot for Federal offices if they; 1. Pay a $400 filing fee and 2. Agree to become a resident within 30 days of being elected. I found this stunning. It has never occurred to me that this could happen.
It never occurred to me, either. I sent the above email to my favorite former Secretary of State, Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, and promptly received this reply:
I took a candidate off the ballot because he was living in Europe and an arrest warrant out for him so that if he stepped foot in the US, he would be arrested.
The candidate took me to court. I lost. The Court said I can only use constitutional requirements and an arrest warrant and living in Europe is not an issue for ballot access.
That is why folks like that stay on the ballot. I agree it can be ethically an issue. But legally it is not an impediment.
I do think you may consider a Facebook posting informing other voters.
Mary Kiffmeyer. State Senator SD30
This falls under the “Believe It or Not” category of Minnesota election laws, along with same -day registration, voting without having to identify yourself, language assistance (if they cannot read or speak English why are they voting?) and “vouching” for the identity of others. Why should you be able to get on the ballot if you do not meet the residency requirements of the office for which you are running? Only in the Land of the Gullible where Ole and Lena dwell.