Julián Castro, the only Latino running for the Democratic nomination for president has officially dropped out of the race for 2020. He announced the end of his presidential campaign this morning on Twitter with a video commemorating his run and highlighting his progressive stance on issues including immigration, healthcare, and homelessness.
It’s with profound gratitude to all of our supporters that I suspend my campaign for president today.
I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together. I’m going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts—I hope you’ll join me in that fight. pic.twitter.com/jXQLJa3AdC
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) January 2, 2020
“I’m so proud of the campaign we’ve run together. We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this race, stood up for the most vulnerable people, and given a voice to those who are often forgotten,” Castro,45, said in the video. “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.”
His support at the polls remained steadily at 2 percent and he reached the $800k fundraising goal he needed to stay in the race in late October but he still didn’t qualify for the November or December debates. He reportedly raised just $3.5 million in the third quarter of 2019 — a fraction of the double digit millions his competitors including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden have.
He received support for raising awareness of police brutality (“police violence is also gun violence”) and his support for decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings, and help undocumented immigrants in the U.S. “I see undocumented immigrants as being a part of the American story for generations, including this generation. I see them as integral to building a strong future for the country,” he told Vox.
However Castro was criticized after a September debate when he attacked Biden by suggesting the former vice president may have forgotten what he’d discussed minutes prior. Many considered it a jab at Biden’s age and mental state and it was a low point for Castro’s image.
Castro became the youngest councilman in San Antonio history in 2001 at 26 years old and he also served as the youngest cabinet member for President Barack Obama as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017. He is of Mexican descent but has been open about his struggle to speak Spanish fluently, something for which he was scrutinized as the only Latino candidate in the running.
“In my grandparents’ time, in my mom’s time, Spanish was looked down upon,” he said during an interview with MSNBC. “You were punished in school if you spoke Spanish. You were not allowed to speak it.” He said many Latinos have “internalized this oppression” and desired their children to only speak English. Only 13 percent of Latinos currently registered to vote speak Spanish as their primary language, according to the Pew Research Center.
“The heart of the Democratic Party is people of color. No one has won the Democratic nomination since they started having primaries without the black vote and the Latino vote,” he told Gen. His exit is the latest departure of a candidate of color following Kamala Harris in December, from a field that began as the most racially diverse ever in a Democratic primary, according to the New York Times.
The San Antonio native, who is married to educator Erica Castro, grew up in a political household with a Chicana activist mother who helped establish the Chicano political party La Raza Unida and who ran San Antonio City Council in 1971. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, has served in the House of Representatives for Texas’ 20th congressional district since 2013 and he was also the campaign chair for his brother’s presidential bid.
After the announcement, AOC tweeted support for Castro saying his campaign an “act of service” and lauding him for his uplifting important conversations.
I’m really proud of @JulianCastro and his campaign.
He ran with true purpose and intentionality. His team uplifted important conversations and took on issues that most candidates shy away from.
At their best, campaigns can be acts of service. Julián’s campaign exemplified that. https://t.co/rhiFyRgiPf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 2, 2020
“Ganaremos un día,” he states at the end of the video, ending on a hopeful note as a reminder of not only his historic run as a nominee of color but of the power the Latinx community holds.