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.”
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.