Things That Matter

Julián Castro Has Announced He’s Ending His 2020 Presidential Campaign

Julián Castro, the only Latino candidate in the Democratic field, has ended his presidential campaign. The progressive candidate who also served under the Obama Administration as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the latest candidate to drop out of the highly competitive 2020 race for the Democratic nomination.

For many on the left who supported his policy ideas, along with many in the Latino community who saw in him a role model, the news comes as a major disappointment. However, as a candidate, Castro was unable to gain significant traction.

In a video recapping his campaign, Castro thanked his supporters and said that “it simply isn’t our time.”

“I’m so proud of the campaign we’ve run together. We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this races, stood up for the most vulnerable people and given a voice to those who are often forgotten,” Castro said. “But with only a month until the Iowa Caucuses, and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I’ve determined that it simply isn’t our time, so today it’s with a heavy heart and with profound gratitude that I will suspend my campaign for president.”

He adds in the video: “I’m not done fighting. I’ll keep working toward a nation where everyone counts.”

Castro’s campaign helped bring an awareness to issues that impacted communities of color.

Credit: @JulianCastro / Twitter

“When my grandmother got here almost a hundred years ago, I’m sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America,” he said during his campaign launch.

Castro, who previously served as Mayor of San Antonio and under the Obama Administration, struggled to raise funds to support his campaign.

My presidential campaign is in dire need of financial resources to keep going,” he said in an October email to supporters.

In the third quarter, Castro’s campaign raised less than it spent — $3,495,406 to $3,960,971. He ended September with just $672,333 on hand, below candidates who have not appeared in the last several primary debates.

His campaign announced in October that if he did not raise $800,000 by the end of the month, he would end his bid. He ultimately met that threshold and stayed in the race through the end of the year.

Aside from financial concerns, Castro didn’t gain much traction in national or state polls. And that with helpful boosts from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted that Castro brought “a powerful presence” to the race, as well as Puerto Rican actress Justina Machado, who held a conference call with supporters — Castro was still unable to stand out in the polls.

He was openly concerned during his campaign that some voters would discount him over concerns about “electability.”

Credit: @JulianCastro / Twitter

“The worst thing we can do is to make assumptions or use some cookie-cutter formula about who ought to be the nominee of the party,” he told BuzzFeed News in May.

When Sen. Kamala Harris ended her presidential campaign last month, Castro put some of the blame on the media. “To me, they held her to a different standard, a double standard, to other campaigns. And I don’t know if it impacted her decision to withdraw from the race or not, but I’m sure it didn’t help,” he told BuzzFeed News.

In the same interview, Castro also shared his growing frustration with the Democratic National Committee’s qualifications for the primary debates, after he failed to qualify for the final ones of the year. He also alleged that some candidates were able to “potentially buy their way” onto a debate stage that had come to lack in diversity.

Despite the challenges he faced, Castro had several leading policy proposals that stood out.

Credit: @JulianCastro / Twitter

In an email Thursday, his campaign highlighted that he was the first Democratic presidential candidate with policies on immigration, police reform and ending hunger, among other issues. 

On immigration, he advocated for decriminalizing illegal border crossings, a position that other candidates then adopted. 

“For a long time in this country, we actually did not treat crossing the border as a criminal act. We treated it as a civil violation,” Castro told NPR in May 2019. “A lot of the problems that we see in the system today flared up after we started treating it as a criminal offense.”

Castro also criticized the Democratic Party itself, urging it to change the presidential nominating process. In Iowa, he told attendees at a town hall, “I don’t believe the two states that start the process — Iowa and New Hampshire — are reflective of the diversity of the country, or of our party.”

Georgia Suffered An Election Day Meltdown And Minority Communities Were Hit The Hardest

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Georgia Suffered An Election Day Meltdown And Minority Communities Were Hit The Hardest

Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images

On Tuesday, voters in both Georgia and West Virginia went to the polls to cast their votes in the state’s primaries. However, the process was so chaotic and unorganized in Georgia, that many are rightfully worried for what the state could look like come November’s presidential election.

The state’s election woes are already being investigated by both Republican and Democratic state officials, as the latter points out that the irregularities were overwhelmingly in predominantly Black communities. Georgia has a history of voter suppression and many worry that this could be a sign to come for the upcoming election, as Democrats hope to turn the state blue.

Voting delays across Georgia led officials to call for investigations into why voters spent hours standing in lines on a hot June day. 

Voters went to the polls in Georgia and West Virginia to cast their votes in the 2020 primary. However, things didn’t go as they should have in Georgia and it could be a sign of voter suppression in action. What happened was an infuriatingly frustrating breakdown in the voting process that appeared to disproportionately affect majority-black precincts in metro Atlanta.

From hours long waits to malfunctioning voting machines and even missing equipment, Tuesday’s Georgia primary was an absolute disaster. Add to that the state had shut down dozens of polling places and you had people waiting in line for more than four hours in some instances.

Many admirably waited in long lines through downpours and searing heat, and some stayed beyond midnight to exercise their right to vote. But untold numbers were dissuaded from voting by the lengthy lines and other issues that plagued the primary.

The primary was such a disaster that it drew the attention of both the state’s Democratic and Republican leadership, who have both called for investigations into the failures.

The state’s Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, said “in certain precincts” in Fulton and DeKalb counties, the failures were “unacceptable. My office has opened an investigation to determine what these counties need to do to resolve these issues before November’s election,” he said in a statement.

The voting issues appeared to be happening in counties with large Black and Latino populations.

The glaring differences between predominantly white communities and those of color even forced LeBron James to weigh in.

“Everyone talking about ‘how do we fix this?’ They say ‘go out and vote?’ What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?” he tweeted.

Election workers said that their office had been flooded with calls from “voters who encountered barriers from polling sites that are not open on time, malfunctioning equipment, long lines with several hours’ wait time, insufficient backup paper ballots and more.”

Three-quarters of voters who called with problems identified as African American.

Meanwhile in Roswell, a mostly white Atlanta suburb, there were far fewer problems. Brian Takahashi voted there and told NBC News “it went well,” and that he was in and out in less than 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Georgia has had issues with its voting.

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images

During the 2018 midterm elections, several counties across Georgia saw voting irregularities – including Fulton County, home to Atlanta. There the election was so chaotic that several Democrats alleged voter suppression. The secretary of state at the time was Brian Kemp, a Republican, who wound up winning the governorship by a thin margin against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Abrams at the time called the election “rotten and rigged.”

She tweeted Tuesday that “Georgians deserve better.”

“From Jasper to Fulton to Coffee & Chatham, long lines, inoperable machines & under-resourced communities are being hurt,” Abrams wrote, adding that Raffensperger “owns this disaster.”

Aside from making sure everyone’s vote is counted, Georgia is especially important in 2020 because it could be in play for the Democrats.

Experts agree that having such critical voting issues in a state that has been plagued by similar issues for years, doesn’t bode well for the November presidential election – especially as many Democrats consider the state to be in play.

Democrats have targeted Georgia — which has added 700,000 registered voters to the rolls since 2018 — as a possible swing state in November. Rachana Desai Martin, the national director of voter protection for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said that what happened Tuesday is “unacceptable” and noted that many voters reported asking for — and never receiving — absentee ballots.

Julian Castro Launches People First Future PAC To Elect Young Progressives

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Julian Castro Launches People First Future PAC To Elect Young Progressives

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Julián Castro launched a new political action committee Thursday. The People First Future PAC is aimed at getting young Progressives elected to office on the state and local levels across the U.S.

Julián Castro is getting to work to help young Progressives get elected across the country.

The People First Future PAC is giving support and attention to politicians across the U.S. who are fighting for core Progressive values. These values include universal health care and an aggressive plan to combat climate change. Castro campaigned on these policies when he was running as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

Castro has been a vocal presence in the current demonstration to end police brutality.

The nation is witnessing large-scale peaceful protests across the country demanding justice after the death of George Floyd. Thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country demanding accountability within police departments for the deaths of unarmed Black people at the hands of police officers.

Castro made police brutality a central point of his campaign releasing a policy and naming victims during debates.

Part of Castro’s policing policy requires the use of body cams for all officers to increase transparency into police activities. The policy also looks at the training techniques to de-escalate a situation and require that those techniques be used to their fullest extent all recorded on body cams to guarantee compliance. Castro’s policy also calls on police officers “to identify themselves, issue a verbal warning, and give the suspect a reasonable amount of time to comply before the use of force.”

Here are some of the candidates that People First Future PAC:

Representative Lauren Underwood

Rep. Underwood represents Illinois’s 14th congressional district, which is west of Chicago. The young politician won her seat in the 2018 elections. She unseated Republican Randy Hultgren, who held the seat for 8 years. Underwood is one of the young, Progressive people of color who were elected into Congress during the 2018 elections as a rebuke against the Trump administration.

Candace Valenzuela

Valenzuela is in a runoff election against Kim Olson to represent Texas’s 24th congressional district. The district is just north of Dallas and Fort Worth and to the West of Plano. The school board member lost the primary race for the Dallas/Fort Worth suburb by 10 points in March. The runoff election is scheduled for July 14.

Check out the full list of politicians backed by Castro’s People First Future PAC here.

READ: Presidential Candidate Julián Castro Opens Up About Juggling His Fight For Latinos In His Campaign And Being A Dad