Former Obama housing secretary Julián Castro, the only Latino in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, on Thursday ended his campaign that had pushed the 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.”
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
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) January 2, 2020
The video continues, “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.”
Castro, who launched his campaign in January, dropped out after failing to garner enough support in the polls or donations to make recent Democratic debates. A former San Antonio mayor who later became President Barack Obama’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Castro had stalled for most of his campaign around 1% in polls and never came close to raising money like his better-known rivals.
He had not yet released his end-of-year fundraising totals, but by October he had raised less than $8 million total. As Castro exited the field, Bernie Sanders announced on Thursday that he brought in more than $34.5 million in the previous three months alone.
Castro’s exit reflects the increasing lack of color in a Democratic field that began as one of the most diverse in history. Between Sen. Kamala Harris of California dropping out and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey also lagging, the sixth and final Democratic debate of 2019 had no black or Latino candidates on stage.
Castro expressed disappointment and concern about the growing lack of diversity, and in Iowa he ran an ad arguing that the state should no longer go first in Democrats’ nominating process because it doesn’t reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party.
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