AZ candidate Cesar Chavez kicked off ballot - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


AZ candidate Cesar Chavez kicked off ballot

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Cesar Chavez during an interview with CBS 5 News on June 17, 2014. Cesar Chavez during an interview with CBS 5 News on June 17, 2014.

Arizona congressional candidate Cesar Chavez has been kicked off the Democratic primary ballot for the 7th Congressional District seat.

More than 700 of the signatures on his petitions were considered invalid by the county's election recorder. People who signed either live out of the district he is running for or they are not registered voters.

Superior Court Judge John Rea ruled Tuesday that those invalid signatures were enough to eliminate Chavez's name from the ballot.

"I feel like I'm being targeted and I think that what's happening to me, I think it's some kind of retaliation," Chavez said.

Scott Fistler legally changed his name to Cesar Chavez in December.

"I have no apologies," Chavez said. "I'm going to take this game as serious as anybody else."

When asked why he chose the name Cesar Chavez, he said, "Because I wanted a simple, easy name to pronounce, a name that people could say and that (they) could easily recognize."

The grandson of farm and labor activist Cesar Chavez challenged Fistler for using Cesar Chavez's name.

Last week, Alejandro Chavez filed a legal complaint in the Arizona Superior Court asking that Cesar Chavez, formerly known as Scott Fistler, be removed from the ballot.

"This is an attempt to fool voters. This is nothing more than that. So that's not right," Alejandro Chavez said.

Fistler previously ran for Phoenix City Council in 2013. He has since changed his name and party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

"Everybody who joined a march, everybody who joined him on the picket line, those are the people this is a slap in the face to," Alejandro Chavez said.

In court documents, Alejandro Chavez claimed Fistler "intends to induce supporters of one of the legitimate candidates for Cong. District 7 to refrain from voting for that candidate and to instead vote for Fistler, confusing him with the civil rights leader … or one of the leader's descendants."

Alejandro Chavez also said Fistler misled voters by gathering signatures to get on the Aug. 26 ballot before officially registering as a Democrat.

"The point of this was to keep him off the ballot and that's what happened," Alejandro Chavez said after the judge's ruling on Tuesday.

Fistler, under his new legal name of Cesar Chavez, is running for the 7th Congressional District seat where Rep. Ed Pastor is retiring. The district heavily favors Democratic candidates and has a large Hispanic population. 

This is Fistler's third attempt at running for office.

He said he plans to appeal the judge's decision to take him off the ballot. He has until June 27 to file the appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court.

Last week, CBS 5 News contacted Cesar Chavez, formerly known as Scott Fistler, to request an interview. The following response was sent on his behalf:

"Unless you have a real good offer Cesar Chavez is not interested. Because of the high demand we can not possibly talk to all media. Please understand reports asking why hit world wide. These 'official' specific answers are not free. Other high profile candidates charge for interviews and Cesar Chavez is no different. We are now dealing with a public figure he was mentioned on the Stephen Colbert Show just like any other famous candidates or elected officials. Cesar Chavez has acquired personal expenses do to his instant popularity.

"You are competing with several thousand media outlets to talk with Cesar Chavez. Yes, we are currently looking at offers. We have an agent so if you want to make a deal tell us, if not please do not waste ours or your time. The only question left for you to ask us is: 'whats it going to take to get an interview with Cesar Chavez?' and we will give you contacts for Cesar Chavez's agent."

Stay with and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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