Rocky de la Fuente is a millionaire businessman who has thrown his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination for Senate in Florida, Vermont, Wyoming, Delaware, and four other states. So far, he's been unsuccessful.
His ninth (and final) bid this cycle is in Rhode Island, which votes Wednesday. He’s not likely to win that race either, but even if he loses, he says he’ll try again when the next cycle rolls around.
“You know what my goal would be if I decided to run for Senate? To qualify in the 33 states” that will hold elections for Senate in 2020, de la Fuente told VICE News from the patio of the Rhode Island home that’s serving as his base of operations before the primary.
Because of a quirk in the Constitution, this is all entirely legal. That's because the Constitution only requires that a Senate candidate be a resident of the state they want to represent at the time they’re elected. And in most states, qualifying for the ballot only takes a few hundred signatures, and occasionally some cash.
So even though de la Fuente only technically lives in California, he can still run wherever he wants — so long as he moves there if he wins.
Stretching your resources and time over multiple states may not be not the smartest strategy to win a race, but for de la Fuente, who made his millions in banking, real estate, and car sales, it’s worth the relatively small investment. Because what he’s aiming for isn’t actually to represent any specific state. He just wants to raise his profile for a potential presidential bid in 2020.
Speaking to voters at a Cuban restaurant in Florida, just days before losing the primary there, de la Fuente was up-front about his motivations. “Basically, I don't expect to win any of the races. I just want to do it so people know who I am,” he said.
This segment originally aired September 11, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.