NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Julián Castro may suspend his presidential campaign by the end of October 2019

For­mer Sec­re­tary of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment Julián Cas­tro has announced that he may sus­pend his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign as ear­ly as the end of this month.

In an email, Cas­tro urged his sup­port­ers to con­tribute to keep the cam­paign afloat: “I’m ask­ing you to fight for me like nev­er before. If I don’t meet this dead­line, I won’t have the resources to keep my cam­paign run­ning.”

Julián Castro campaigns during the 2019 Iowa State Fair

Julián Cas­tro cam­paigns dur­ing the 2019 Iowa State Fair (Pho­to: Gage Skid­more, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license)

Castro’s cam­paign is wor­ried that he will be unable to qual­i­fy for November’s debate in Atlanta, Geor­gia. While Cas­tro has actu­al­ly raised enough funds from enough donors to meet the finan­cial thresh­old for entry to the debate, he has not yet reached the polling thresh­old of 3% sup­port in at least four qual­i­fied polls.

The first 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty nom­i­nat­ing event – the Iowa cau­cus­es – are sched­uled for Feb­ru­ary 3rd, over three months away.

Castro’s call to his sup­port­ers is very sim­i­lar to New Jer­sey Sen­a­tor Cory Booker’s fundrais­ing appeal in Sep­tem­ber.

Book­er warned his fans that he would drop out of the race if his cam­paign failed to raise $1.7 mil­lion by the end of the third quar­ter; in the next ten days, his cam­paign received over $2 mil­lion. Cas­tro pre­sum­ably hopes to repeat such a feat.

Cas­tro has spent his whole cam­paign strug­gling against his low name recog­ni­tion among vot­ers – in con­trast to wide­ly rec­og­nized can­di­dates like Joe Biden, Eliz­a­beth War­ren, and Bernie Sanders.

This lack of name recog­ni­tion has meant that his agen­da – one of the more pro­gres­sive and well thought-though of the pri­ma­ry can­di­dates’ – has not received the atten­tion it has per­haps deserved.

Over the course of the cam­paign sea­son, Cas­tro has voiced sup­port for:

  • The Green New Deal, plus imple­ment­ing a tax on pol­lu­tion
  • Free col­lege, plus stu­dent debt for­give­ness for peo­ple receiv­ing fed­er­al assis­tance
  • Tax cred­its for teach­ers
  • A ban on mil­i­tary grade “assault weapons”, along with buy­back pro­grams and uni­ver­sal back­ground checks
  • Medicare for All
  • Decrim­i­nal­iz­ing the act of cross­ing the bor­der

On the last point, Cas­tro gained atten­tion dur­ing the June debate when he clashed with fel­low Tex­an Beto O’Rourke on whether cross­ing the U.S.–Mexico bor­der should be decrim­i­nal­ized. Cas­tro sup­ports decrim­i­nal­iza­tion while O’Rourke’s plan is less clear. Castro’s favor­a­bil­i­ty jumped up for his clear stance on immi­grants’ rights after the debate, but that nev­er trans­lat­ed into an increase in the polls.

Cas­tro didn’t help him­self in the Sep­tem­ber debate with an attack on Joe Biden that implied that the sev­en­ty-six year-old was los­ing his mem­o­ry; his favor­a­bil­i­ty dropped sharply, as many Democ­rats per­ceived his com­ment to be mean-spir­it­ed.

In con­trast to can­di­dates such as Eliz­a­beth War­ren, Beto O’Rourke, or Kamala Har­ris – who have expe­ri­enced dra­mat­ic shifts in their polling num­bers – Castro’s nation­al polling aver­age has remained at around 1% for the entire­ty of the race.

So far, sev­en can­di­dates have dropped out of the con­test for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s 2020 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion: Richard Oje­da, Eric Swal­well, Seth Moul­ton, John Hick­en­loop­er, Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gilli­brand, and Bill de Bla­sio.

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