"If at first you don't succeed, change your name and party affiliation and try, try again," is the advice one former Republican from Arizona took after his original bid to get elected failed.
According to the Arizona Capitol Times, Scott Fistler first unsuccessfully campaigned in Arizona's heavily Hispanic 7th Congressional District in 2012 as write-in candidate against Rep. Ed Pastor. At the time, he was Republican, and his name was still Scott Fistler. In 2013, still Republican and still known as Scott Fistler, he ran for a Phoenix city council seat, and lost to Laura Pastor, Ed's daughter. The man formerly known as Scott Fistler apparently decided something must change if he were to run for the 7th District seat now that the senior Pastor is retiring.
Fistler took, shall we say, drastic measures. In November 2013, he petitioned a state court and paid $319 to legally have his name changed to Cesar Chavez, suddenly sharing a name with the Hispanic labor movement icon. How coincidental! He later registered as a Democrat, too, just like the departing Pastor. Talking Points Memo tipped us off to this story.
Chavez apparently told the Capitol Times he's been "flooded with calls and emails," so he's not available to take questions right now. That is, unless they meet some specific, simple criteria. You'll be shocked to learn this Chavez character is rather elusive, according to the Capitol Times:
Chavez did lay out some ground rules for media questions, should he be able to get to them. Questions must be screened, no more than five questions, no question longer than five words and Chavez will not discuss his name change, he explained in the email.
If Chavez was taking questions, he would undoubtedly be asked about his dubious name change, or his dubious party switch, or his dubious campaign website. Chavez's campaign site uses photos of Venezuelans celebrating Hugo Chavez and dishonestly identifies them as Chavez supporters campaigning for him in Arizona. That is about as un-American as it gets.
But he may not get away with it. State Democratic Party leaders are already investigating whether or not he's a legitimate candidate. So far, the evidence does not favor Chavez:
According to voter records, Chavez didn’t become a Democrat until April 28, even though he filed his congressional statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in February. On the form, Chavez wrote “DEM” in the Candidate Party Affiliation field.
“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. Rest assured, he has at least made a mockery of himself.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.