Julián Castro ends presidential bid

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DES MOINES, IOWA – NOVEMBER 01: Democratic presidential candidate, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro speaks at the Liberty and Justice Celebration at the Wells Fargo Arena on November 01, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. Fourteen of the candidates hoping to win the Democratic nomination for president are expected to speak at the Celebration. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Julián Castro ended his presidential campaign on Thursday after the former Housing and Urban Development secretary failed to gain traction in the large field of Democratic candidates.

Castro announced the news in a video posted on Twitter.

“I’m so proud of the campaign we’ve run together. We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this races, stood up for the most vulnerable people and given a voice to those who are often forgotten,” Castro said. “But with only a month until the Iowa Caucuses, and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I’ve determined that it simply isn’t our time, so today it’s with a heavy heart and with profound gratitude that I will suspend my campaign for president.”

The Castro campaign appeared to be nearing the end for months, as the candidate struggled to raise enough money to stay solvent as a host of his Democratic opponents continued surging. Castro closed out his campaign by lobbing broader complaints at the Democratic Party about the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire, two predominantly white states that do not reflect the broader Democratic electorate, vote first in the nominating process.

Castro, the only Latino to run for president this cycle, officially launched his campaign last January with a rally in San Antonio, his hometown and the city he ran as mayor for five years before joining the Obama administration.

“When my grandmother got here almost a hundred years ago, I’m sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America,” Castro said.

Castro ran an unabashedly progressive campaign over the last year, staking out left positions on issues like immigration, housing and policing. While Castro’s policy proposals fired up some of the party’s base, especially those on Twitter, Castro failed to turn that policy into fundraising or polling success.

That lack of financial viability and standing in the polls eventually doomed Castro, who failed to qualify for either the November of December debates.

Castro struggled for months to raise money. The candidate spent the final 10 days of October pushing to raise $800,000 and pledged to donors that he would drop out if he failed to hit that goal. The campaign narrowly hit the goal with hours to go on October 31.

Even with the late October push, Castro’s money issues forced him to shrink his campaign team. The campaign announced in November that he was laying off all their staff in New Hampshire and South Carolina in an effort to downsize and focus entirely on Iowa, Nevada and Texas.

The refocusing didn’t help in the polls, however, as Castro continued to find himself in the low single digits in the weeks after he pivoted his campaign.

Castro also ran an aggressive campaign.

The candidate made his debate performances count by going after both former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden. And Castro aides were among the most aggressive against former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, regularly faulting him for his lack of minority support.

One person who recieved only praise from Castro: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“She has got a great team over there. She is fantastic,” Castro said in November. “I think she has done a very impressive job on the campaign trail. … I think right now she is doing a fantastic job of fusing her biography… with her policies.”

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