Arizona candidate ‘Cesar Chavez’ faces challenge from labor leader’s family

BY Associated Press and newsdesk  June 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM EST
A mural of Cesar Chavez in San Fransico. Creative Commons photo by Andrea V. Grimes via flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/louripperts/7700813622

A mural of Cesar Chavez in San Fransico. Creative Commons photo by Andrea V. Grimes via flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/louripperts/7700813622

The grandson of Cesar Chavez is challenging the candidacy of an Arizona congressional candidate who has been using the farm labor leader’s name.

Alejandro Chavez filed a legal complaint Tuesday in Phoenix, asking that Scott Fistler be removed from the Democratic primary ballot.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that Fistler, a former Republican who has lost two bids for elected office, not only legally changed his name to Cesar Chavez last December — he also switched party affiliation in April.

Fistler, now Chavez, is running for a seat in the heavily Democratic 7th Congressional District.

In court documents, Alejandro Chavez alleges the candidate misled voters by gathering signatures to get on the Aug. 26 ballot before officially registering as a Democrat.

“We believe he is trying to corrupt the process,” said attorney Jim Barton.

A message left with the candidate seeking comment Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Cesar Chavez was a Mexican-American farm worker who would become a well-known activist for union, Hispanic, and civil rights. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW) with Dolores Huerta. He is also known for popularizing the saying “Sí, se puede” (Spanish for “Yes, one can” or, roughly, “Yes, it can be done”), which would later be adopted by Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Chavez died in 1993, and his birthday, March 31, is a recognized holiday in several states.