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.”

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