Candidate changes name mid-campaign

Larry Breitfelder-Navas name doesn't match ballot

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -  

He's running for Chula Vista City Council, but the name he's using doesn't match the name on the ballot.
Chula Vista businessman Larry Breitfelder is trying to unseat incumbent Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan. Both their names are listed that way for "Seat No. 3" on the ballot.
However, a recent campaign advertisement lists the challenger as Larry Breitfelder-Navas -- it's the same man, but with a Spanish surname.
"My name is right here, Lawrence Joseph Breitfelder-Navas," said Breitfelder-Navas, as he showed 10News a copy of his birth certificate.
The 52-year-old Breitfelder-Navas was born was born in Tijuana to his Mexican mother and American father. They moved to America when Breitfelder-Navas was six-months-old. He used the full name throughout his life, even listing it on his business cards when he worked for McMillin Realty. He dropped "Navas" a few years back.
"Breitfelder's a pretty good mouthful itself so I often don't use the full name," he said.
10News asked Breitfelder-Navas why he changed it days before the election.
"My mother is almost 90 and if she doesn't see me elected with the our family name Navas now, she probably never will," Breitfelder-Navas said.
For some, the timing is peculiar. A spokesman for the Bensoussan campaign said the challenger was trying to curry favor with Hispanic voters, a majority in Chula Vista.
"Candidates like him will try any gimmick to get elected. I think the voters will figure it out," spokesman Joe Preciado told 10News over the phone.
"If I wanted to play that sort of game, I would have played it two years ago," said Breitfelder-Navas.
Two years ago, he lost another run for council against Patricia Aguilar.
"People like to vote for people like themselves. The more people you can identify with, the better the votes you'll get. This is why you see Paul Ryan out hunting. This is why you see Barack Obama bowling," said 10News political analyst Carl Luna.
Breitfelder-Navas said the additional surname may gain votes but it could also hurt him, especially since "Breitfelder-Navas" isn't on the ballot.
"It could even cut against me but the important thing is it's done for the right reasons -- my mother," said Breitfelder-Navas.
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