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When Michelle Vallejo released a campaign launch video late last year, it was pure South Texas. An early-morning scene showed the thirty-year-old opening the gates to Pulga Los Portales, her family’s flea market in the small city of Alton, fourteen miles north of the border. As vendors arrived with avocados, bolillos, nopales, and tortas, Vallejo talked about how members of her family have to cross the border for affordable health care. “I’m running for Congress to change that,” she said, announcing that she would be seeking the Democratic nomination for an open seat representing the Fifteenth District, anchored in the border city of McAllen. In the video, the first-time candidate exudes confidence and poise. But a few weeks earlier, Vallejo had made a more private announcement that rattled…
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