One failed GOP candidate will do just about anything to win in Arizona’s heavily Hispanic 7th congressional district — including switching parties and legally changing his name to that of Hispanic labor and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez.
The Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday that Scott Fistler, who launched a failed write-in campaign as a Republican against Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) in 2012, successfully petitioned an Arizona superior court last November to change his legal name to Cesar Chavez. Chavez also became a Democrat earlier this year before filing to run for the congressional seat being vacated by Pastor, who is retiring.
Reached for comment by the Capitol Times, Chavez said he had been “flooded with calls and emails” and was no longer speaking to the press. He also told the newspaper that if he did decide to answer its questions, he would not discuss the name change.
“There is just simply not enough Cesar Chavez to go around,” he wrote, as quoted by the Capitol Times. “We may resume questions starting May 10 [sic].”
The candidate formerly known as Scott Fistler also prominently displayed photos on his website of crowds carrying signs and wearing T-shirts with the name “Chavez.” But the photos, as the Capitol Times pointed out, were actually of Venezuelans rallying for deceased former President Hugo Chavez.
The State Democratic Party finds Chavez’s candidacy fishy. The Capitol Times reported that voter records show Chavez became a Democrat on April 28, even though he filed to run for Congress as a Democrat in February. DJ Quinlan, the state’s Democratic Party chair, told the Capitol Times that the Party’s legal team was determining whether to bring a challenge against Chavez.
“He’s either trying to make a mockery of the system, or of Democrats, or of the Hispanic community,” Arizona Democratic Party Chairman DJ Quinlan told the Capitol Times.
Images via Tea Party Cheer, Cesar Chavez for Congress in 2014.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.