Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro ended his presidential campaign on Thursday morning. The Texas Democrat announced the decision on Twitter.
Castro, the only Latino who ran for president in 2020 — the year that Hispanics will become the largest racial and ethnic minority in the electorate — had struggled to pull more than 2 percent in national polls. He exits the race as it is increasingly dominated by four figures, all of them white: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.
Castro was critical of the emphasis the Democratic primary puts on the overwhelmingly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire. He campaigned in both states, but also devoted a large share of his time on the campaign trail to marginalized communities: visiting homeless encampments in Oakland and Las Vegas, an Ohio church offering sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant, and Puerto Rico, where U.S. citizens are still recovering from Hurricane Maria. His campaign will be remembered for those moments and for the social-justice bent of his policy proposals: decriminalizing border crossings, accepting climate refugees, ending hunger, and reforming the criminal justice system.
It’s with profound gratitude to all of our supporters that I suspend my campaign for president today.
I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together. I’m going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts—I hope you’ll join me in that fight. pic.twitter.com/jXQLJa3AdC
Castro’s campaign will also be remembered for his kneecapping of fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke in an early debate. O’Rourke, an early favorite in the race, was already struggling by early summer, but Castro’s attack — connecting O’Rourke’s view that border crossings should not be decriminalized with the Trump administration’s family separation policy — helped to accelerate O’Rourke’s free-fall.
“I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together,” Castro wrote on Twitter. “I’m going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts — I hope you’ll join me in that fight.”
Castro hasn’t, as yet, given any indication where he plans to take the fight, but it won’t be to the Senate — the deadline to file for the Texas 2020 race was in early December.