The grandson of a Mexican immigrant, Julian Castro, who first became San Antonio mayor and a U.S. housing secretary, departed his 2020 Democratic presidential run on Thursday after a competition overshadowed by more well-known liberals.
The departure of the one Latino from the campaign, a month or so ahead of early nominating battles in Iowa and New Hampshire, leaves 14 Democratic candidates in a still crowded field searching for the party’s nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November.
The charisma and assertiveness that helped make Castro, 45, a rising player in the Democratic Party didn’t translate into enough support to compete against better-recognized candidates such as liberal U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
He had struggled to raise money for what was seen as a long-shot offer, and another Texan who was in search of the party’s nomination before suspending in November, former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, siphoned some attention from Castro in the early days of his campaign.
He didn’t start from criticizing his fellow Democrats either, distinctly going after former U.S. VP Joe Biden, the early front-runner amongst Democrats, during a September 12 debate.
Castro’s departure could intensify criticism that, for a party that prides itself on its variety, a lot of the top Democratic hopefuls are white. Asian-American Andrew Yang was the only minority candidate to appear beside six others in the latest debate on December 19.
The race for the party’s presidential nomination remains up for grabs weeks before the primary votes are cast in Iowa on February 3, with the New Hampshire major to follow on February 11.