Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, formally withdrew his bid for the US presidency this morning. He addressed his supporters in a video message relaying the news.
His campaign began nearly a year ago on January 12, 2019. With his mother, Rosie Castro, and his brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, in attendance, Julian addressed a crowd at Plaza Guadalupe. He delivered a speech positioning himself as a champion for minority groups and “the most vulnerable folks in this country,” as he put it.
It was a strategy Castro followed through on. Early in the race, Castro earned points for criticizing the leading progressive candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders for neglecting a bill to study reparations for slavery. During debates, he spoke directly to the Latin American community by providing certain answers in Spanish. He spoke regularly of police killings of Black and Latinx individuals, calling for accountability.
However, Castro failed to establish a foothold in the progressive base of the Democratic party. Elizabeth Warren carved out her following from the left wing by establishing herself as the policy candidate. Bernie Sanders’s demands to overhaul the country’s political and economic systems continue to establish him as the revolutionary in the field.
Castro also faced competition for the top Texan in the race. Beto O’Rourke, whose close senate race in 2018 earned notoriety among Democrats, proved a formidable presidential candidate until his withdrawal in November. Castro earned accolades for confronting O’Rourke on the debate stage over his stance on immigration policy.
Many cite an exchange between Castro and former Vice President Joe Biden as the turning point in Castro’s campaign. He received negative coverage when, during a debate, he cut Biden off with, “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?”
The reply, repeated several times, seemed in poor taste following a series of insults hurled at Biden from President Donald Trump suggesting the candidate’s age impacted his cognitive abilities. It aligned Castro’s image with a more mean-spirited strain of politics.
In his message to supporters this morning, he said, “To all who have been inspired by our campaign, especially our young people, keep reaching for your dreams—and keep fighting for what you believe in. ¡Ganaremos un día!”