Cesar Chavez, formerly GOP candidate Scott Fistler, is making a blatant attempt to confuse and mislead voters in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District and should be tossed off the Democratic primary ballot, according to a challenge to Chavez’s candidacy filed Tuesday.
The challenge alleges that Chavez, who changed his name in December and his party affiliation in April following two unsuccessful bids for elected office as a Republican, did so in an effort to interfere with the CD7 election by confusing voters, a corruption of electors in violation of A.R.S. 16-1014.
A person violating the statute is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor, the law states.
Attorney Jim Barton of Torres Consulting & Law Group filed the challenge on behalf of Alejandro Chavez, the grandson of the Hispanic labor icon Cesar Chavez.
Arizona Democratic Party leaders had said they were exploring a challenge to his candidacy, which party chairman D.J. Quinlan said made “a mockery of the system.”
Chavez (formerly Fistler) began collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot in CD7 before registering as a Democrat, the challenge said, misleading those who signed his petition.
He declared his candidacy to the Federal Elections Commission as a Democrat in February, but didn’t change his party affiliation until April 28.
The challenge claims Chavez also made other errors while gathering his nomination petitions.
After petitioning Maricopa County Superior Court last November and paying $319, Fistler now legally shares the name of the celebrated labor movement icon, Cesar Chavez. In his petition for a name change, Fistler wrote that he had “experienced many hardships because of my name.”
The Chavez for Congress website sought to take advantage of the Chavez name, that of both the iconic labor leader and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The website is covered in photos, some lifted from Venezuelan news reports, showing rallies for the Venezuelan leader.
Fistler ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in a 2012 write-in campaign against U.S. Rep Ed Pastor and in 2013 in a bid for a Phoenix City Council seat.