Julián Castro, the previous housing secretary and former mayor of San Antonio, introduced on Saturday that he would run for president, probably the most high-profile Latino Democrats ever to hunt the occasion’s nomination.
His first marketing campaign cease might be in Puerto Rico, the place he’ll converse on Monday on the Latino Victory Fund’s annual summit and meet with residents nonetheless struggling to get well from Hurricane Maria. Later within the week, his marketing campaign mentioned, he’ll go to New Hampshire.
“When my grandmother bought right here virtually 100 years in the past,” Mr. Castro mentioned on the Plaza Guadalupe amphitheater in San Antonio, within the neighborhood the place he was raised. “I’m certain that she by no means might have imagined that simply two generations later, one in all her grandsons could be serving as a member of america Congress and the opposite could be standing with you right here at present to say these phrases: I’m a candidate for president of america of America.”
Mr. Castro’s announcement had been anticipated for a number of weeks. He established an exploratory committee in December, two months after publishing a memoir, “An Unlikely Journey” — a well-recognized path for presidential candidates who need to play up their life tales and and, maybe, get forward of their largest vulnerabilities. This month he additionally visited two of the early caucus and first states, Iowa and Nevada.
He joins Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Consultant Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Consultant John Delaney of Maryland on the still-short checklist of Democrats who’ve mentioned definitively that they are going to look for the occasion’s 2020 nomination. That checklist is anticipated to develop significantly within the coming weeks and months.
In his speech on Saturday, Mr. Castro emphasised training, calling for a nationwide model of the common prekindergarten program he established in San Antonio when he was mayor. To fund this system there, he elevated the town’s gross sales tax — a politically dangerous proposition, particularly in Texas, however San Antonio voters permitted it.
His message was clearly designed to attraction to the progressive Democrats who drove most of the occasion’s congressional victories this 12 months. He referred to as for a better minimal wage, denounced police killings of African-Individuals, which he described as “state violence,” and embraced the Black Lives Matter motion. He additionally condemned President Trump’s immigration coverage, together with the observe of household separation and the proposed border wall, and declared that his first government order if elected could be to rejoin the Paris local weather accords, which Mr. Trump left.
George Rodriguez, a conservative blogger, talk-show host and Fox Information contributor whom Texas Republican leaders designated as their spokesman on the announcement, mentioned after the speech that the dialogue of immigration had stood out to him. Mr. Castro, he mentioned, didn’t “appear to have the ability to distinguish between authorized and unlawful immigration.”
Mr. Rodriguez additionally argued that the San Antonio pre-Ok program, which was one in all Mr. Castro’s chief accomplishments as mayor, had duplicated present packages like Head Begin. “How a lot of an accomplishment that’s is fairly doubtful,” he mentioned.
Mr. Castro, 44, was raised in San Antonio in a politically energetic household. His mom, Rosie Castro, was an activist with the Mexican-American political occasion La Raza Unida and often took Julián and his twin brother, Joaquin — now a congressman — to rallies and conferences. Joaquin Castro would be the chairman of Julián’s marketing campaign.
On the age of 26, Mr. Castro grew to become San Antonio’s youngest Metropolis Council member, and after one unsuccessful marketing campaign for mayor in 2005, he was elected to the town’s prime job in 2009. In 2012, he delivered the keynote handle on the Democratic Nationwide Conference — the identical platform that catapulted Barack Obama, then a little-known state senator, to nationwide prominence in 2004. Mr. Obama, as president, later selected him to guide the Division of Housing and City Improvement.
In an announcement on Saturday, the Republican Nationwide Committee previewed one of many essential arguments it’s probably to make use of in opposition to Mr. Castro, calling him a “light-weight” with out the expertise wanted to be president.
Mr. Castro has dismissed considerations that he’s not as skilled or as nicely often called most of the different probably candidates.
“In my entire life, I don’t suppose I’ve ever began out because the front-runner,” he instructed The New York Instances final month. “I grew up in a neighborhood the place no one rising up there was the front-runner at something. So I’m not going to concern myself with who folks consider because the front-runner and who they don’t.”
Among the many Democrats often talked about as 2020 contenders, he’s the one Latino, and likewise one of many youngest. If elected, he could be the third-youngest particular person ever to develop into president, after Theodore Roosevelt (42) and John F. Kennedy (43).
The total area of candidates might embrace former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bernie Sanders of Vermont; and former Consultant Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who ran a high-profile however unsuccessful marketing campaign in opposition to Senator Ted Cruz final 12 months.
Requested whether or not he anticipated to face a fellow Texan, Mr. O’Rourke, within the race, Mr. Castro responded, “There’ll in all probability be 15 or 20 folks within the race so it’s going to be crowded.”