Arizona residents might be scratching their heads when they see the "Cesar Chavez for Congress" website and signs. Turns out this Cesar Chavez who recently filed papers to run as a Democrat in the heavily Hispanic 7th district is not related to the late civil rights icon who died in 1993.
According to The Arizona Republic, this particular Chavez was called Scott Michael Fistler until last November when he filed a name-change petition.When asked about the name change, Fistler told the paper: "It's almost as simple as saying Elvis Presley is running for president," adding, "You wouldn't forget it, would you?"
The candidate's website has more than one Chavez association. The pictures on the site, including massive crowds with "Chavez" signs and joyous women with Chavez t-shirts, are actually file photos of rallies for the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
Fistler, who is now a Democrat, had run twice as a Republican, first in a failed write-in campaign against Democratic congressman Ed Pastor in 2012, and later against Pastor's daughter in a failed bid for Phoenix City Council, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
Congressman Ed Pastor's February announcement that he was not running for re-election has set off a competitive race in the district, which includes Phoenix. Among several Latino candidates, two are running neck-and-neck. One is Mary Rose Wilcox, the first Latina in the Phoenix City Council and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and the other is state legislator Ruben Gallego, a 34-year-old Harvard graduate and Iraq War veteran.
Though Fistler's name and political party changes are now national headlines, the question is whether the Chavez name would get votes, which could in turn have repercussions in a tight race. Arizona State University political scientist Rodolfo Espino tells NBC he would draw some votes, "but at the same time between the media and the get out the vote campaign enough people will be aware he's not that real Cesar Chavez."