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A GOP Candidate Changed His Name To Cesar Chavez And Became A Democrat To Appeal To Latino Voters

"I don't think this is going to ultimately be successful and if it is I'm going to change my name to Selena," said Ruben Gallego, the candidate who is leading in the polls.

Posted on June 2, 2014, at 9:41 p.m. ET

Twice-failed Republican candidate Scott Fistler has one more trick up his sleeve to try to win a seat vacated by a long-time Latino congressman in a majority Latino district: He's a Democrat named Cesar Chavez now.

"I don't think this is going to ultimately be successful and if it is I'm going to change my name to Selena," joked Ruben Gallego, the candidate leading in the polls in Arizona's 7th Congressional District.

Becoming serious, Gallego said it's clear that the candidate formerly known as Scott Fistler is trying to make a joke of it all.

Rick Scuteri/Invision / AP

"It shows people don’t understand the Latino community in Arizona," he said. "They vote on issues, not on names. They vote on who’s progressive, who’s going to take care of income inequality, soaring tuition, and climate change, and I think that’s me."

Fistler, now Chavez, wrote that he had “experienced many hardships because of my name” on his name change petition.

He said he's not taking any more media inquiries because he has been “flooded with calls and emails,” he told the Arizona Capitol Times.

“There is just simply not enough Cesar Chavez to go around,” he wrote.

National immigration activist and DREAMer Erika Andiola said Fistler's transparent Chavez ploy is offensive.

Scott Pavey

"For a guy to change his name is definitely very offensive," Andiola, who is helping immigration lawyer José Peñalosa with his campaign, said.

"We’re taking this seriously because a majority of Latinos live in that district," she said, adding it's a big reason longtime Congressman Ed Pastor never lost.

"We're just hoping that Gallego or whoever falls into that seat is someone who is going to take this seriously and not deceive people like this guy is definitely trying to do."

Gallego says something good can come out of this ridiculous situation.

AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka

"I've worked extensively with the Chavez family and the United Farm Workers, and while it's offensive to them, the greater offense is I don’t think he knows what Cesar Chavez has meant to the community," he said.

"The work he did to change the life and plight of migrant workers. If anything comes of this, I hope people will take the time to learn more about Cesar Chavez."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.