2020 Candidates: Julian Castro

Part two in our perpetual, neverending series on the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

This week, I’m going to organize these into some kind of group to make them easier to find later. (EDITORS NOTE: That’s this website, as it turns out)

NAME: Julian Castro
AGE: 44
TWIN?: Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-TX 20)
2016 PICK: Hillary Clinton

Castro is one-half of the twin political duo Castro brothers – brother Joaquin is a congressman – and easily the oldest, born a full minute before baby Joaquin.

He went to Stanford through affirmative action, scoring lower than the average incoming student. He later said he “did fine in college and in law school… I’m a strong supporter of affirmative action because I’ve seen it work in my own life.” At the time, Stanford was overwhelmingly white.

Castro became Mayor of San Antonio in 2009 after serving on the city council for four years and launching an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 2005. As mayor, Castro expanded pre-kindergarten through a sales tax increase championed by prominent business leaders at Castro’s request.

He was named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Obama in 2014. The appointment helped put him in the national eye and made him a rumored candidate for vice president in 2016; although progressive groups raised concerns about HUD policies under Castro, the Clinton campaign ultimately passed over him because, according to the Washington Post, the campaign wasn’t concerned about appealing to Hispanic voters. After all, “Trump’s harsh words toward Mexicans and his stance on immigration appear to have put the Hispanic vote even further out of reach for the GOP.”

Political positions? Well that’s… hard. Castro was a mayor, and as mayor he supported LGBT+ rights. He supports Medicare for All – as, I suspect, will most candidates in the race. And that’s… sort of it.

See, Castro was last elected to an office back in 2013 and it was a municipal office. That doesn’t mean he isn’t qualified. Heading up a cabinet office is a big deal.

Former President Obama almost definitely won’t back a candidate in the primaries, but since Castro was a member of his cabinet there will be a kind of tacit assumption that he carries Obama’s endorsement. That should help him immensely early on: unlike any other candidate or likely candidate, Castro can claim to be a continuation of the Obama administration’s legacy.