Julian Castro ends Democratic presidential bid, only Latino in race

Kimberly Dole
January 02, 2020 - 9:19 am
Julian Castro

Associated Press

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Julián Castro, the former housing secretary who was the only Latino candidate in the Democratic primary, announced Thursday on Twitter that he was ending his bid for presidency in the 2020 election.

"It’s with profound gratitude to all of our supporters that I suspend my campaign for president today," tweeted 45-year old Castro.

In a video he posted on Twitter Castro adds, "So today it’s with a heavy heart and with profound gratitude, that I will suspend my campaign for president. To all who have been inspired by our campaign, especially our young people, keep reaching for your dreams — and keep fighting for what you believe in." It concludes, "¡Ganaremos un día!” — which translates to "We will win one day!"

Castro, was the only Latino candidate in the race and among the youngest in the running at a moment when the party’s ascendant left wing is demanding generational change.

He launched his campaign in January, dropped out after failing to garner enough support in the polls or donations to make recent Democratic debates. A former San Antonio mayor who was the only Latino in the race, Castro had stalled for most of his campaign around 1 percent in polls and entered October low on money.

As the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, Castro said he recognized the meaning of his candidacy in the face of President Donald Trump’s inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric and hardline policies on the U.S.-Mexico border.

But he labored not to be pigeonholed as a single-issue candidate. Castro made the attention-getting choice of Puerto Rico as his first campaign stop, recited the names of black victims killed in high-profile police shootings and was the first in the field to call for Trump’s impeachment.

But his sagging poll numbers never budged. He was often eclipsed by another Texan in the race who dropped out this fall, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and another young former mayor, Pete Buttigieg of South Bend. His campaign and supporters, meanwhile, grumbled that Castro didn’t get due credit for taking out-front positions.

Trying to show he could go to-to-toe with Trump, Castro swung for big moments on debate stages, and flirted with a much-needed breakout in June after confronting O’Rourke over not supporting decriminalization of illegal border crossings.

But turning his sights on Biden on a later stage brought swift backlash. During the September debate in Houston, Castro appeared to touch on concerns about the age of the then-76-year-old former vice president and added a parting shot at him.

"I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not," Castro said.

Castro — who was Obama’s housing secretary in his second term — denied taking a personal dig at Biden as others in the field condemned the exchange. Three days later, Castro lost one of his three backers in Congress, Rep. Vicente González of Texas, who switched his endorsement to Biden.

Castro had warned supporters in a fundraising appeal that failing to make the November debate stage would spell the end of his campaign. He needed to hit at least 3 percent polling in four early state or national polls but didn’t get even one.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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