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The Canales-Black campaign never recovered. On Election Day, Hinojosa prevailed, securing a surprising 39 percent in Nueces County. Dissension in Corpus had cost Canales-Black the race. And her father knew just who to blame. He would soon seek revenge. “If you know the Canales family, they never lose,” said one source. “They always get what they want. When you’re an upper-middle-aged person who’s never known the word ‘no,’ and then you lose, that’s a heavy burden to carry.” Before the race, the Canales family, the Bonillas, and the Berlangas, Corpus, continued from page 7 race. The short runoff campaign between Hinojosa and Canales-Black was even more expensive and nasty. In all, it’s estimated the Canales-Black campaign dumped nearly $2 million on the race, far outspending Hinojosaand sending the Valley lawyer into debt. Several sources said that Rodriguez, Vela, Shamsie, and especially Capelo and Rep. Ortiz made it known they thought Hinojosa was the better choice. Not only did Canales-Black embody the Corpus establishment, but she campaigned as a conservative Democrat. In particular, when Canales-Black’s BNP announced plans to drill for natural gas on Padre Island National Seashore, she lost the support of some Corpus progressives. To make matters worse, says one party insider, Canales-Black campaigned with a whiff of upper-class snobbishness, “She’d say things like, was walking through the colonias and the children came running up to me and thanked me for running.’ We all thought, ‘What is she talking about?'” About a week before the April 2002 runoff election, a local teacher’s union representative named Susie Luna political commentary on Commentarios, Corpus’s venerable open-forum broadcast on Spanish-language radio. During campaign season in Corpus, as you might imagine, the commentaries are heated. Saldana accused Canales-Black of trying to buy the election. Standing nearby, waiting to give his counter view, was Tony Canales. When his turn came, Canales erupted. He ranted that people like Saldana had no right to say such things about his daughter. “These Mexicans, we can buy them two for a nickel,” he said in Spanish. Canales claimed later that “Mexicans” referred to Saldana and people like Rodriguez, not working families. But Hinojosa’s campaign giddily snapped up the tape and turned the recording into a political ad with the lead-in, “This is what the Canales family thinks of you.” The ad was broadcast all over Spanish-language radio, which, as Carranza’s high ratings attest, is a powerful medium in Corpus. and several other powerful families were loosely connected cogs of the perceived Corpus establishment. After the primary, though, they hardened into a single faction. The result was a split in the local Democratic Party between those who sided with the Canales clan and those closer to Rodriguez’s clique. Traditionally in politics, after a tough primary, both sides, for the good of the party, reconcile for the general election. That wasn’t about to happen in Corpus. During the 2002 general election, the dissension worsened. Rodriguez, Capelo, and Vela were, for the moment, beyond Tony Canales’s reach. But Shamsie was entangled in a close race for county judge with Joe McComb, a Republican former city councilman known mainly in Corpus for losing six elections. Tony Canales refused, according to several party insiders, to donate money to the local Democratic Party, saying he wouldn’t support anyone who had betrayed his daughter. Instead, Tony Canales and Hugo Berlanga founded their own mini-Democratic Party, known as the Democratic created to raise money for statewide Democrats like Tony Sanchez without having to support their local enemies such as Shamsie. The DVC hired some of Canales-Black’s old campaign hands and set up an office in a BNP-owned building downtown. \(Berlanga posted a sign on his office door that read “The In September, Tony Canales emailed the Tony Sanchez campaign, threatening to withhold his campaign contributions if Congressman Ortiz, Sen.-elect Hinojosa, and Truan were included as honorary guests at Sanchez’s Corpus fund-raiser in late September. “I would dump The Three Amigos,” Canales wrote. He defended his stance to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, saying, “We’re not holding a tamalada here. We’re trying to raise $5,000 a head.” Canales and the Sanchez camps eventually backed down and reconciled. But a week later, Rodriguez hosted a fundraiser for Shamsie’s campaign. For the event, El Cucuy had t-shirts printed that read, “Tamaleras y Tamaleros por Outside of Tong Canales, perhaps no one better per sonifies the Corpus establishment than Bonilla… Of Rodriguez, Vela, and Capelo, he sags, “If there’s any common denominator among those that are experiencing problems now, it’s an unequivocal lack of humilitg…It’s an arrogant, boastful clique that intends to use 1960s rhetoric to divide the community:’ 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 1/30/04