Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama Administration Housing Secretary Julián Castro today announced what he concedes is a long-shot campaign for the Democrat nomination for President in 2020, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Castro announced his candidacy at a rally at Plaza Guadalupe this morning in front of a crowd of several thousand cheering supporters.. Also speaking were local residents as well as a man who worked for Castro at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
His campaign slogan, also unveiled today, is "One Nation, One Destiny."
Speaking in English and in Spanish, Castro told the cheering crowd, "When my grandmother got here almost 100 years ago, I'm sure that she never could imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving in the United States Congress, and the other would be standing before you saying these words: 'I am a candidate for President of the United States'!"
Castro would become the first Hispanic nominee of a major party for President. West Virginia State Senator and Afghan War veteran Richard Ojeda is also looking at making a run for the Democratic nomination.
Julian Castro (he pronounces his first name 'hoo-lee-AHN') made his announcement at Plaza Guadalupe, a landmark in San Antonio's sprawling west side Mexican American barrio, a neighborhood of neat, brightly painted wood framed homes, many on tiny lots and festooned with white plaster Catholic statues. Castro and his twin brother Joaquin, who is now a Congressman representing inner city San Antonio and chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, grew up in a political home. Their mother Rosie Castro, was a founder of the hard left La Raza Unida political movement in the 1970s and an unsuccessful candidate for City Council.
After graduating from Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Castro, 44, was elected the youngest San Antonio City Council member ever in 2001, and in 2009 he was elected Mayor of San Antonio, which is the seventh largest city in the country.
As Mayor, Castro was known as an effective leader who convinced voters to raise taxes to pay for an innovative early childhood education program which has become the model for similar programs nationwide. He pushed education and downtown improvement initiatives which helped transform San Antonio from a low wage tourism and military community to a world leader in cutting edge industries like advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity. It was these successes, plus a well received keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which grabbed the attention of President Obama, who appointed Castro to his cabinet in 2014.
Mark Jones, a political analyst at Rice University in Houston, who has followed Castro's career, says despite this, his chances of securing the nomination are slim.
"Julian Castro shouldn't be counted out completely," Jones said. "That said, his star is definitely not rising any more, and the sun may be setting on the Presidential ambitions of Julian Castro."
Jones says Castro's big mistake was to decline an invitation by Texas Democrats to oppose Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) in last years elections, allowing the man who did take that challenge, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Tx) to take his place as the favorite of Texas Democrats.
"Castro was a much hotter commodity four to six years ago than he is today, and he is very overshadowed by his fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke, who is effectively at the top of any Democratic poll for the Presidential nomination of 2020."
Jones says Castro would be a strong Vice Presidential nominee, or perhaps a key cabinet members in a Democratic administration, "which may be what he is aiming for."
Castro is unfazed by talk that he is destined to be an also-ran in the crowded 2020 field.