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Ruben Gallego portrait glamor shot
Ruben Gallego
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The Democratic primary in Arizona's 7th Congressional District was already weird. This was the place featuring an asshole Republican named Scott Fistler who legally changes his name to "Cesar Chavez" and entered the Democratic primary.

But if that wasn't bad enough, one of the Democrats decided to be just as big of an asshole. Dave Weigel explains:

Fistler's "Hispanic" name potentially posed a challenge for 34-year-old former state Rep. Ruben Gallego, the first candidate who entered the race to replace Pastor. An Iraq war veteran and former state House minority whip, Gallego had built a significant power base in the district. In 2013, his wife, Kate—who's not Hispanic, but took his name, obviously—won a seat on the city council. The point is that having a Hispanic name doesn't hurt in a district that's largely Hispanic.

But Gallego's biggest challenge (according to polls) comes from Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. She's Hispanic, actually, born Mary Rose Garrido in 1949 [...]

So Gallego legally changed his name in 2008, after he finished his military service. His father abandoned his family when he was 11, so he took his mother's name. In short, he changed his name from Ruben Marinelarena to Ruben Gallego.

But for Mary Rose Wilcox, this was a violation of ... something or other. One of her supporters filed suit against Gallego, and Wilcox backed it full throat:

Anyone running for public office has a responsibility to do so in an open and honest way. My campaign fully supports Plaintiff Michael Snitz in this lawsuit because we the people have a right to know who is running to represent us in Congress. My opponent has used the names Ruben Marinelarena, Ruben Gallego, Ruben Gallego Marinelarena, and Ruben Marinelarena Gallego at different times for various purposes since he moved to Arizona, a few years ago. A lot has happened under each of those names, and the voters have a right to know who a candidate really is.
Um, that's three names. Ruben. Marinelarena. Gallego. I'm sure people can crack the code. And if not, the Wilcox campaign is free to educate the electorate. But this veers into the absurd given that Wilcox was born Mary Rose Garrido, her name has appeared as Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox in official literature, and she now goes by Mary Rose Wilcox. So ... yeah. Who gives a shit? Wilcox does, enough so to file suit. Gallego's responded:
"I was raised by a single mom and changed my name to honor the woman who raised me. I have been very open about this decision and the circumstance behind it,” he said in a statement.

“My mom is an immigrant and struggled every day to raise four kids on her own,” he added, noting her last name is Gallego. “My father abandoned my family when I was young. His choice to leave made my life and the lives of my three sisters much harder. I slept on the floor until I went to college and my sisters and I had to rely on the free lunch program to make sure we ate. His last name is Marinelarena.”

Wilcox is a despicable human for making this a thing. This was such a backfire, in fact, that the lawsuit was withdrawn a day later. Oops. Meanwhile, Gallego doesn't just have an inspirational life story, but he's solid on our key issues.

So we're endorsing Gallego for Congress. $3 can go a long way toward this race, so give! The late August primary gives us plenty of time to organize on his behalf.

We could use more people like Gallego in Congress. Democrats like Wilcox? Eh, not so much.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 07:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by LatinoKos and Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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