Julian Castro, who had been the only Latino in a crowded field competing for the 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential nomination, dropped out of the race Thursday.
"I'm so proud of the campaign we've run together," Castro, 45, said in a video message to supporters announcing his decision to withdraw. "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."
"But with only a month until the Iowa caucuses, and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I've determined it simply isn't our time."
Castro struggled to climb above 2% in national polling after beginning his campaign last January, and was low on funding ahead of the frenetic ramp-up to the primary season, which begins Feb. 3 with the Iowa caucus.
Castro is a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas who served as President Barack Obama's former Housing and Urban Development secretary from 2014 to 2017. He staked out a strong progressive stance on the campaign trail, clashing in the September Democratic debate with former Vice President Joe Biden who he told "I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not."
"That will be a surprise to him," Biden, a staunch mainstream Democrat, retorted.
It is unclear what lies ahead for Castro. He could prove to be a valuable vice presidential pick later in the race as one of the most high-profile Latinos in politics. But eyes have focused for some time on whether he would pursue the governorship in his home state of Texas.
The Democratic field is now comprised of just 14 candidates, down from a height of 28 as droves have fallen out including California Sen. Kamala Harris who was the last to withdrawal in December before Castro.
Attention now turns to the fast-paced primary season where candidates will seek to garner support from within the party ahead of the Democratic nominating convention in July.
Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are leading the pack as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren trails closely behind.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.