Julián Castro Forms Presidential Exploratory Committee, Sets Jan. 12 Announcement

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Erich Schlegel for The Texas Tribune

Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro speaks at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 29, 2018.

Julián Castro is taking another step toward a 2020 presidential campaign.

The former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor announced Wednesday that he has formed an exploratory committee to consider a bid and will make an announcement Jan. 12 in Texas. The committee is called Julián for the Future.

The Jefferson High School graduate, who was in his 20s when he was elected District 8 City Councilman, issued a familiar refrain in a four-minute video released Wednesday that recalls President Barack Obama’s own campaign rhetoric: “I believe we can.”

He recounted his own family’s immigrant story. His orphaned grandmother, Victoria, moved to the United States as a child, never learned to read, her education halted before fourth grade. His Chicana activist mother Rosie, despite being a single mother for most of Castro’s and his twin brother Joaquín’s childhood, worked her way through college to become the first in her family to earn a degree. Joaquín has served as the U.S. representative for Texas’ 20th congressional district since 2013.

“I believe we can make a promise to immigrants who spend a lifetime imagining how it will feel the day they arrive in America: We have room for you. We welcome you. Our destinies are united,” he said. “Americans are ready to climb out of this darkness. We’re ready to keep our promises. And we’re not going to wait – we’re going to work.”

Castro has said for months he is likely to join what is expected to be a crowded field for the Democratic presidential nomination. It is a lineup that could include another Texan, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, who is being urged to run after his closer-than-expected race against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last month.

Castro has been preparing for a potential run for nearly two years, traveling the country for midterm candidates and doling out contributions through his Opportunity First PAC.

Asked last month at the Rivard Report‘s inaugural ideas festival CityFest about whether he would launch a presidential campaign, Castro he responded he would make a decision by the end of the year.

Castro’s name has been in the mix among Democratic presidential candidates since 2012, when the then-mayor gave the keynote speech at that year’s Democratic National Convention. In 2014, he joined President Barack Obama’s cabinet and was later shortlisted as a vice presidential candidate during Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 bid.

3 thoughts on “Julián Castro Forms Presidential Exploratory Committee, Sets Jan. 12 Announcement

  1. As I have stated before, with only 2 1/2 years of national service as head of HUD and his years as mayor of a city run by a city manager rather than the mayor is not much of a background for a Presidential candidate. His brother Joaquin now has better national experience by having been a U. S. Congressman. And ahead of both of them in Texas is Beto O’Rourke in terms of experience, popularity, and known name recognition throughout the country. If a Democrat becomes President in 2020, Julian Castro needs to jockey for a high-level position in the administration and be there for 4 years (or 8, if possible) if he wants to someday become a serious candidate for President. And if a Democrat is not elected in 2020, Julian Castro needs to get himself into an important government job some other way rather than biding his time waiting with hopeful wishes to run for President himself in 2024; the longer he continues outside of government, the less qualified he becomes to become President in comparison to both his brother and O’Rourke.

    • He’s not really running for president, though. He’s running to put himself in contention to be selected as the eventually nominee’s running mate.

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