Hillary Rodham Clinton will be making a visit to Texas soon. It’s a rare thing for democratic presidential candidates to do, deep in the heart of our fiery red state. But Clinton is not coming for a rally. This is a closed door affair; a fundraiser at the home of a man who’s one of the biggest behind-the-scenes players in all of Texas. That man’s name? Alonzo Cantu.
The Standard’s David Brown talks with Carlos Sanchez, editor of McAllen Monitor, about why this Texan is so critical to the Clinton camp.
On Alonzo Cantu and why he’s important to Hillary Clinton:
Cantu got his start building homes in McAllen and quickly grew from… homes to buildings to shopping centers. Then he made a leap. He [is chairman of the board for] Lone Star Bank which does a lot of the financing here in South Texas. Ultimately, Cantu helped build and found Doctors Hospital at Renaissance which is the largest doctor-owned hospital in the country. It’s upon that foundation that Alonzo has made a mark politically. He is considered one of the largest bundlers in the country. It’s simple because he made a lot of doctors here in McAllen rich. When he tells them that he needs political donations, as in the case on Friday with Hillary Clinton, they come forward and they come forward in great measure.
On Cantu’s history with Clinton:
Eight years ago he was a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton. In fact, Alonzo is very proud of the fact that at one time both Bill and Hillary were overnight guests at his house. So they have a very solid relationship.
On Cantu as a businessman:
Alonzo is a very pragmatic businessman. When Clinton lost to Barack Obama eight years ago, he announced he was spreading the wealth. He has done so. He was a major contributor to David Dewhurst, a republican. This year during the first reporting period, turns out that PAC that Alonzo controls, the Border Health PAC, made the largest single contribution to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick… a Republican.
On what Cantu hopes to gain:
The speculation is that Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is looking to expand. It’s actually looking to double in size but there is a provision that was passed through the Obamacare Act that limits the size of doctor-owned hospitals. What Alonzo is seeking is a waiver that would allow for the continued expansion. This coincides again with the creation of a new medical school at…University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. All of this is interspersed both in relation to the growth potential of South Texas and the growth potential of Alonzo Cantu’s empire.