Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Obama protege Julian Castro joins 2020 presidential race

Obama protege Julian Castro joins 2020 presidential race

Texas Democrat Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and top USA housing official, formally launched his White House bid on Saturday (Jan 12), entering as a dark horse candidate in a likely crowded field vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

Castro is the identical twin brother of Joaquín Castro, who now represents Texas's 20th congressional district.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of MA has also started an exploratory committee for president, and four other Democratic senators are taking steady steps toward running. Castro is among the first in a long list of expected Democratic candidates to officially announce their bids.

The former mayor of San Antonio made his announcement at Guadalupe Plaza on the city's west side, blocks from the home where he grew up and the church where he was baptized.

Castro is getting an early start in trying to stand out. John Delaney, a former congressman from Maryland, launched his presidential bid in 2017, and Sen.

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At a time when the federal government has been partly shut down over Trump's demand for funds to build a wall on the Mexican border, Castro sounded a contrasting message. "And there is no way in hell that caging children is keeping us safe", he said, telling the crowd his grandmother died regretting that she wasn't able to say goodbye to her mother when she left Mexico for the U.S.in the 1920s.

"I've resolved that before I die, I want to speak it fluently", said Castro, who has used the program Rosetta Stone to learn the language.

Castro's personal story, along with that of his twin brother, Joaquin, has been central to his rise on the national stage and made up the bulk of his 2012 convention speech.

Mr Castro had said leading up to his announcement that a Latino candidate was a must in the 2020 field. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey have moved ahead of Castro in name recognition.

Castro is aware he lacks the name recognition of potential 2020 rivals or the buzz surrounding O'Rourke, whose flirtations with 2020 have tantalized donors and activists after a close race previous year against Sen. Ted Cruz turned O'Rourke into a national Democratic celebrity.

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At age 26, Julian Castro became the youngest member elected to the San Antonio City Council, and served as mayor until 2014.

Even some supporters at Castro's announcement could be torn if O'Rourke gets in the race. But it's going to be a big discussion if Beto decides to run, " said Delrosario, 45.

The groups-including Presente.org, MoveOn, DailyKos, Rootstrikers and the Working Families Party-charged that Castro's record at HUD was disqualifying.

It was not long before Democrats nationally embraced him as a star in the making, particularly one from Texas, where a booming Hispanic population is rapidly changing the state's demographics and improving the party's fortunes.

The 44-year-old, who rose to national prominence with an electrifying keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic convention, seems set to become the second high-profile Democrat to announce their candidacy for 2020 following MA senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign launch at the end of last year. He joined the Obama administration as the head of HUD two years later, giving him a national profile and feeding speculation that he might become the running mate of his party's 2016 presidential nominee.

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"If I decide to run, it would be because I believe I have a compelling message and I'm going to work hard and get to the voters and I believe I can be successful", Castro told the AP.

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