HELENA — If you don’t want to see either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House, and you live in the Rocky Mountain West, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente would like a few minutes of your time.
Rocky De La Fuente is a 62-year-old San Diego, California, businessman whose political patter matches his pugilistic name. In a news conference Friday in the Montana Capitol, he glided around the marble-laden rotunda, reporters trudging along behind him, and rained down an unrelenting stream-of-consciousness explanation about his plan to torpedo both major-party candidates’ Election Day.
De La Fuente is the presidential candidate of the combined Reform Party of Ross Perot fame and the new American Delta Party. Public awareness of his candidacy doesn’t come close to even other third-party candidates, such as the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein, let alone that of Trump and Clinton.
But de la Fuente says he has the formula to sink the front runners and get himself or one of his third-party brethren elected on Nov. 8. It involves unlikely electoral math, nonexistent candidate cooperation and a lot of luck.
“It may be a long shot, but when you go to the horse races, it comes in once in a while,” De La Fuente said.
In a nutshell, De La Fuente’s “Rockies Strategy” is for third-party candidates to capture all of the Rocky Mountain West from New Mexico to Montana — with Alaska thrown in. If they do, there’s a good possibility that neither Trump nor Clinton would get the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, he said.
Then the U.S. House would decide the presidency, with representatives choosing from among the top three electoral vote getters — and de la Fuente wants to be that third candidate. If the presidential vote makes it to the House, anything can happen, he said.
He insists it’s the best way to block Trump, whom he said would lead the U.S. into World War III, and Clinton, whom he said would be unable to govern from the White House.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist,” he said. “This is obvious.”
The strategy brought him to Big Sky Country on Friday to tell Montana voters something they don’t often hear in presidential races: Their three electoral votes matter. From Montana, De La Fuente is hoping a mini-movement snowballs so that he also captures Nevada and Alaska’s electoral votes.
He’s ceding other states to the other third-party candidates, such as New Mexico and Arizona to Johnson and Colorado to Stein and Utah to Evan McMullin. That’s an integral part of his plan, even if the other candidates aren’t on board with it or even aware of it.
But if he hopes to put his plan into play by wooing Montana, a state widely expected to back Trump, he may have gotten off on the wrong foot. Asked what his favorite spot in Montana was, he responded that it was the city of Idaho Falls, which is in Idaho.
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