Julián Castro Just Dropped Out of the Presidential Race

But he was right about Iowa.

Julian Castro

Paul Boucher/ZUMA Wire

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro dropped out of the Democratic presidential race on Thursday morning. Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, told supporters in a video that “it simply isn’t our time.”

Castro, the only Latino candidate in the race, was facing an increasingly limited path forward. He hadn’t been on a debate stage since mid-October, and he wouldn’t have been on the next one either. He didn’t raise a lot of money. Campaigns are zero-sum, and Castro had an oxygen problem. There was room in the top tier for one up-and-coming red-state ex-mayor—but apparently not for two.

For all his struggles, Castro carved out a place for himself in the field as a progressive policy advocate, pushing out aggressive platforms on homelessness, criminal justice, and immigration. His interview with my colleague Fernanda Echavarri, after Castro visited a refugee camp in Matamoros, Mexico, is worth revisiting for a glimpse at the kind of campaign he ran. And it wasn’t just the way he tried to highlight the human toll of Trump’s policies; he also looked critically at the administration he had served in. Though a heavy-handed jab at Joe Biden’s memory got the most immediate reaction during a September debate, his persistence in challenging the former vice president’s support for deportations during the Obama administration was a better reflection of how Castro operated as a candidate. Once maligned as overly cautious, he showed a willingness to take on his own party over its failures.

In the final weeks of his race, he even criticized the nominating process itself for giving undue power to the overwhelmingly white electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire—a tradition, he said, that did “not reflect our nation’s diversity.” It was a bit of deliberate provocation from a candidate who wasn’t going to win either of those places, but it wasn’t wrong.

Where he goes from here is unclear. The filing deadline to run for office in Texas in 2020 has passed. But though it’s been more than a decade since he was first anointed as a rising star, he’s still just 45, with stints as a Cabinet secretary and as mayor of the nation’s seventh-largest city under his belt. So it’s a fair bet he’ll probably be back—you might even hear his name this summer, when the primary winner picks a running mate.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate