Presidential field narrows again as Castro suspends campaign

Still more than a dozen Democrats competing for nomination to challenge Trump

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was introduced by Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a fellow Texan, at a 2014 hearing on his nomination to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President Barack Obama’s administration. Castro suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, and the deadline to file to run to challenge Cornyn has passed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced Thursday that he is suspending his presidential campaign. But the Democratic primary field remains crowded, with 14 candidates still in the race.

“I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together,” Castro said in a tweet Thursday morning. “I’m going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts — I hope you’ll join me in that fight.”

Castro’s announcement comes just after the fourth fundraising quarter ended on Dec. 31 and after he failed to qualify for the two most recent Democratic presidential debates. Castro’s earlier fundraising reports show his fundraising grew from $1.1 million in the first quarter to $2.8 million in the second to $3.5 million in the third quarter, a time when he had appeared in televised debates.

The former San Antonio mayor who served in President Barack Obama’s administration has been critical of the nominating process, particularly the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, which have largely white populations.

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,” Castro said to supporters in a video posted online.

Castro had endorsements from two Texas Democratic members of Congress: Rep. Colin Allred, who served in HUD under Castro; and Rep. Joaquin Castro, his twin brother who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Texas Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez had initially endorsed Castro but later backed former Vice President Joe Biden instead.

“I just thought we need to narrow the Democratic field to the less than handful of folks who have a legitimate opportunity of winning the election in November of 2020,” Gonzales told CQ Roll Call in November when asked about switching his endorsement.

“There are a lot of candidates that are just consuming resources and voters’ attention that at some point [we] need to get behind somebody that has a legitimate opportunity of getting us to the finish line,” Gonzales said.

Castro had been named as a potential candidate to run for Senate in Texas if he dropped out of the presidential race, but the filing deadline has already passed.

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