San Diego real estate baron, car dealer, and banker Roque (Rocky) De La Fuente, who is running for president of the United States, has become the first person in modern history to submit enough signatures to get on the Michigan primary ballot.
Normally, Michigan's secretary of state chooses candidates who are "generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates," according to the Detroit Free Press.
"No candidate under the modern presidential primary system, which dates to 1972, has submitted signatures to attempt to get on the primary ballot," a spokesman for the state Bureau of Elections told the Detroit News. But De La Fuente, using volunteers and paid petition circulators, got 20,166 signatures. De La Fuente's feat "is a first," said the spokesman. The Board of Canvassers has to give the final go-ahead January 29.
I reached De La Fuente while he was campaigning today (December 20) in New Hampshire.
"I was the first person in history to qualify in Michigan" through signatures, he said. Officials of the Democratic Party "are playing a chess game they believe I don't know how to play, but I can play good," he said.
De La Fuente is now qualified in 17 states plus American Samoa, he said. As a result of a ping-pong ball lottery, he will be listed first among Democrats in Arizona, according to tucson.com. Historically, those listed first on a ballot "have a 10 percent advantage," he said.
He expects former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley to drop out and throw his support to Hillary Clinton, and possibly become her vice presidential candidate.
De La Fuente expects to be named to the ballot in Massachusetts tomorrow (December 21) and says "I am working my ass off" to get on the North Carolina ballot. He proudly points out that he now has a Wikipedia listing.
"It took me 64 days," he said. "I don't want [Hillary Clinton] to attempt to run the country for the next eight years and I won't let Donald Trump become a dictator and get us into World War III."
De La Fuente is running as a conservative Democrat. He believes he could drain important votes from the Democratic candidate if he ran as an independent, but he said he is not contemplating that.