A judge ruled Tuesday that Cesar Chavez, the former Republican who changed his name from Scott Fistler, will be removed from the primary ballot in the 7th Congressional District because hundreds of his signatures were invalid. Chavez, who acted as his own attorney in a hearing which veered from comical antics to tearful testimony, vowed to appeal the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court. He asked supporters to “funnel money” to his campaign and find him legal counsel. The ruling caps a bizarre episode in Arizona politics, one observers have called unprecedented. It attracted international media attention when The Republic revealed the full story behind Chavez, the candidate who chose the name of a deceased civil-rights leader and registered as a Democrat for political gain in the heavily Hispanic left-leaning district. He had lost two previous elections. His familiar name threatened to siphon votes in a hotly contested race to replace longtime retiring Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz.
An Arizona congressional candidate who legally changed his name to Cesar Chavez will be removed from the Democratic primary ballot because of invalid nomination signatures, a judge ruled Tuesday. Judge John Rea ruled that almost half of the nearly 1,500 signatures gathered by the candidate formerly known as Scott Fistler to get on the Aug. 26 ballot were invalid. That put him 295 signatures shy of the 1,039 needed to qualify. Chavez, who acted as his own attorney during Tuesday’s hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court, has until June 27 to appeal and said he will do so.
Arizona: Scott Fistler, “Cesar Chavez”: Arizona congressional race devolves into war over Hispanic surnames. | Slate
On Aug. 26, Democratic voters in Arizona will choose a successor to 7th Congressional District Rep. Ed Pastor. It’s a safe, blue seat, covering the most liberal parts of Phoenix and Glendale. And it’s heavily Hispanic. That’s what led a Republican trickster named Scott Fistler to pay $319 to legally change his name, to “Cesar Chavez,” and attempt to get on the ballot. It was difficult to overstate the chintziness of the move. On his website (now offline), Fistler posted pictures of mobs of people marching in “Chavez” shirts—he took them from rallies for the late Venezeulan President Hugo Chavez. When I was in Phoenix last week, it was widely understood that Fistler would face challenges to his ballot petitions. In interviews, he’s responded to the challenges by saying “the Cesar Chavez train is smoking and it’s not going to stop until the election” and “my campaign is too legit to quit.” So we’re not talking about a serious person. Here’s where the story veers into pure derp. Ready? OK.