Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente was born and raised in San Diego, California, where he continues to reside to this day. His early education had a strong religious influence from numerous spiritual groups, including the Carmelites of the Sacred Heart, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, and the Legionaries of Christ. As a young man, he earned a Bachelors degree in Physics and Mathematics from the Mexican school Instituto Patria, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He also studied Business Administration and Accounting at Anahuac University and the University of San Diego. He began his professional career as a car salesman, where he enjoyed great success and eventually became a prolific franchise owner in the industry. He has also worked as an entrepreneur in real estate, assisted living, and other businesses. He has a strong sense of patriotism – once, when his municipal government refused (for unspecified reasons) to allow him to fly a large American flag over his Cadillac dealership, he stubbornly challenged them in court for nine years until he won the right to fly the flag.
De La Fuente is running as a Democrat, but many of his policies are surprisingly conservative. He champions fiscal responsibility as the solution to the nation’s economic challenges, including restricting federal spending and indexing the government’s budget to the previous year’s GDP so that spending could only rise if the economy were to strengthen. He does favor transitioning from finite to sustainable energy sources, but he frames this as a national security issue (energy independence) and supports incentivizing the private sector to voluntarily make the switch, rather than requiring they do so by regulatory mandate. Similarly, he supports withdrawing American armed forces from dangerous foreign nations, but still emphasizes the importance of a technologically supreme military and speaks of the importance of being able to project force rapidly when necessary.
On the issue of education, De La Fuente favors providing equal facilities and resources to students in financially disadvantaged areas, but he is opposed to systems of Affirmative Action. He also supports offering federal funds to states to support university-level scholarships, but he advocates states’ freedom in allocating and utilizing the money as they see fit, without the attachment of what he calls “political strings”.
De La Fuente’s positions are likely to make him an oddly attractive pick to a variety of conservative voters. It is difficult to see, however, a clear path for him to win the support of his chosen Democratic party, especially – as something of an irony – in his traditionally-liberal home state of California.