Julián Castro, Looking At Bid For Democratic Nomination In 2020

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro is preparing a run for the White House in 2020.

Julián Castro, the former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas who served as Secretary of the Department of Housing And Urban Development for most of President Obama’s final term in office, is putting together a team for a potential bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020:

Julián Castro convened a group of supporters in San Antonio Monday in preparation for a 2020 presidential campaign, sources familiar with the gathering told POLITICO.

Castro and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, brought together about 20 of their loyal donors and bundlers in San Antonio to begin to sketch out a national bid, according to one person present and another with direct knowledge of the meeting.

The session lasted several hours and invited the potential donors to ask questions about a potential presidential campaign. The 44-year-old brothers even left the room for a bit to give their allies a chance to talk freely, according to Scott Atlas, a prominent Houston attorney and the finance chair for Democrat Bill White’s 2010 challenge to then-Governor Rick Perry.

“The consensus was that Julián brings a lot to the table. He’s part of a new generation and most of the candidates who are talked about are not,” said Atlas, who declined to name the other participants at the meeting but said it was mostly people from Texas with longstanding ties to the Castro brothers.

The former mayor of San Antonio and secretary for Housing and Urban Development in the final years of the Obama administration has been strongly hinting at a presidential run over the past year. He has made several trips to early primary states, written a memoir, and created and formed the Opportunity First PAC to help build the Democratic bench. During his book tour this fall, Castro told Rolling Stone that he is “likely” to run.

Potentially the only Latino candidate in a sprawling Democratic presidential field, Castro recently assembled a group of Latino leaders in Washington to talk a 2020 campaign, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting. Castro and his brother both have long been considered rising stars on the left, with Julián rising to national prominence when he gave the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton’s campaign then vetted him for vice president in 2016.

Castro has been mentioned as a potential Presidential candidate in the past, as his his twin brother Joaquin, who has represented Texas’s 20th Congressional District since first being elected in 2012. He was also among the people that were vetted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign as a potential running mate and, while he ultimately not selected, it was clear at the time that he was and is well-regarded by both mainstream Democrats and by more “progressive” members of the party, although the second group has often expressed doubts about him based on his close ties to the Clinton wing of the party.

In any case, the potential appeal of a candidate like Castro would seem to be obvious. In addition to his youth, his background would be well in line with ongoing Democratic efforts to excite Latino and young voters to come to the polls, an effort that proved to be at least somewhat successful given the fact that voter turnout among both groups, while it still lagged behind other demographic groups, was higher than it has been in the past, especially in areas where Democrats were hoping that they would be in order to put them over the top in the battle for control of the House. Even if he doesn’t succeed as a candidate for President in two years, Castro would obviously be near the top of any candidates list for running mates. This would like be especially true if the Democratic nominee ends up being an older candidate such as former Vice-President Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, or others.

The other interesting fact here is that just Julián Castro is an attractive candidate for the Democratic nomination, the same could also be said for his brother. As I noted above. Joaquin Castro has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2012 and, prior to that, had served in the Texas House of Representatives for a decade. While it’s not fair to say that the two brothers are interchangeable, the fact is that one could make a case for either one of them to run for President, or to serve as a Vice-President or high-ranking Cabinet member. And, of course, this would be, to my knowledge, the first time that someone who has an identical twin had ever run for President, something which makes for some fun hypotheticals in and of itself.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. the Q says:

    Wow, the amount of comments to this story, I fear will mirror the lack of enthusiasm of his campaign,

  2. Gustopher says:

    He’s way more qualified than that Starbuck’s guy.

    And an identical twin? Do they live in different states? I could see a Castro/Castro ticket, where no one can tell who is President and Vice President… what our country really needs is wacky hijinks in the White House.

    Somehow, “hijinks” was autocorrected to “bikinis” when I first typed that. We could also use wacky bikinis in the White House.

  3. @Gustopher:

    They are both Texas natives.

  4. Teve says:

    There are going to be 30 dems in the primary. Most of the women I know are Super Pissed about Trump and the GOP. I think we’re 24 mos away from electing our first woman as president.

  5. Teve says:
  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


  7. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: one could move to Wyoming. Worked for Cheney.

  8. Scott says:

    Julian was our mayor and he wasn’t a bad one. However, he comes across somewhat pre-fabbed. Everything is polished, considered, sober, etc. I just don’t see that as presidential material. Cabinet material, judge material, congressional material, yes. I want to see more before going for President.

    The question for all of them is why do all these candidates think they don’t need any real experiences before running for the top. Do they think real experience will ruin their chances by having a history to scrutinize and criticize? I just don’t get it.

  9. Grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: you’ve probably see the report that Hillary Clinton is thinking of running again?

    ….to which my response is What Is She Smoking?!

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Scott: Mayor and Cabinet Secretary seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of experience. We go with governors all the time, and the occasional Senator.

    He has executive experience and some Washington experience. Missing foreign policy. Like many before.

    He meets a minimum threshold of experience. Not as much as I would like, but a minimum.

  11. Scott says:

    @Gustopher: Just want to add that in San Antonio, the governing structure is a city council/ city manager structure. Mayor is head of a part time city council. City Manager is hired to run the city. Mayor makes 61K, City Manager 550K.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: “He’s way more qualified than that Starbuck’s guy.”

    Not a high bar to clear. He could be abysmally unqualified and still be better qualified that Schultz.

    ETA: @Teve: Wa! Very graphic! Dramatic, too!

  13. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: There is not woman candidate on the radar–save Oprah– that can beat Trump. You won’t win by convincing the public that he’s bad, racist, sexist, etc. You beat Trump by making him look weak– weak as in: not quite the strong paternalistic strong man he portrays himself as. Typical Dem criticism of Trump actually feed his masculine image–even to people that hate him.

    That said I completly expected the Dems to screw up 2020–because they are not as smart as they believe themselves to be–which is only slightly smarter than Republicans.

  14. Franklin says:

    @Resistance Ron: And thank goodness he’s out of the running early. If you’re under the mistaken impression he’s some sort of left-wing hero, he’s not.

  15. wr says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Yawn. Just because it’s called “conventional wisdom” doesn’t actually mean it’s wise. This isn’t going to be the 2016 election, in which Trump could conceivably pass himself off as a tough guy. Look at him now — angry, bitter, lashing out at everyone, refusing to do any aspect of his job. After two years of losing he’s going to come across as the angry old guy across the street yelling at clouds, and it’s not going to take a “tough guy” to beat him.

  16. wr says:

    @Grumpy realist: ….to which my response is What Is She Smoking?!

    To which my response is why are you wasting your time with pundits who are so desperate for clicks and so empty of thought that they are writing this about Hillary. What she said in answer to a question is that she’d still like to be president but has no desire to run. It wasn’t a statement of intent…

  17. Teve says:

    @Grumpy realist: Yeah but I don’t think that’s happening. Trump’ll be so weak there’ll be talk of ERRBODY running. A corgi could probly beat him in 2020.

  18. John430 says:

    Down here in San Antonio, the Castro Bros. are a joke. The S.A. mayor’s job is ribbon-cutting. The City Manager has all the power and brains. The HUD job is a political graveyard. See: Cisneros, Castro and Ben Carson.
    Outside of a few liberal strongholds they don’t even rate attention. Rumors still persist that question his/their sexuality.