AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former Obama housing secretary Julián Castro on Thursday ended his run for president that pushed the 2020 field on immigration and swung hard at rivals on the debate stage but never found a foothold to climb from the back of the pack.
“I’m so proud of the campaign we’ve run together. We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this race, stood up for the most vulnerable people, and given a voice to those who are often forgotten,” Castro said in an online video. “But with only a month until the Iowa caucuses, and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I have determined that it simply isn’t our time.”
The video concludes, “So today it’s with a heavy heart and with profound gratitude, that I will suspend my campaign for president. 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!” — which translates to “we will win one day.”
Castro dropped out after failing to garner enough support in the polls or donations to make recent Democratic debates. A former San Antonio mayor who was the only Latino in the race, Castro had stalled for most of his campaign around 1% in polls and entered October low on money.
But Castro’s departure in particular also illuminates a touchy reality for Democrats: the primary field is narrowing into a race between three front-runners — Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders — who are all white and over the age of 70.
Castro, 45, was among the youngest in the running at a moment when the party’s ascendant left wing is demanding generational change. And as the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, Castro said he recognized the meaning of his candidacy in the face of President Donald Trump’s inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric and hardline policies on the U.S.-Mexico border.
But he labored not to be pigeonholed as a single-issue candidate. Castro made the attention-getting choice of Puerto Rico as his first campaign stop, recited the names of black victims killed in high-profile police shootings and was the first in the field to call for Trump’s impeachment.
But his sagging poll numbers never budged. He was often eclipsed by another Texan in the race who dropped out this fall, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and another young former mayor, Pete Buttigieg of South Bend. His campaign and supporters, meanwhile, grumbled that Castro didn’t get due credit for taking out-front positions.