The former mayor of San Antonio and HUD secretary under President Obama officially announced his candidacy Saturday, framing it in the context of immigration: "When my grandmother got here [from Mexico] nearly a hundred years ago, I'm sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America", he told supporters in his hometown of San Antonio, per USA Today. He is the identical, older twin brother of Rep. Joaquin Castro, who also is a former state representative.
One of Castro's major problems is that he really doesn't have much of a resume compared to some of the heavier hitters we're expecting to get into the race over the next few months.
Castro made the announcement in San Antonio today, saying, "We're going to make sure that the promise of America is available to everyone in the 21st century".
After twice winning re-election, Julian Castro stepped down as mayor in 2014 to become HUD secretary during Obama's second presidential term.
Castro is getting an early start in trying to stand out. Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) have already announced definitive intentions to run for president in 2020. Sen.
Should Castro win the Democratic nomination and eventual presidency, he would become one of the youngest Americans to ever hold the White House, and he would be the first Hispanic to do so. The impasse over a border wall that Trump made a central promise of his 2016 campaign has led to the longest government shutdown in US history.
"I wish my grandmother could be with us to see it", he said.
"We have the best candidate with the best ideas and the best heart", Joaquin Castro said. He said that if he is elected, his first executive action would be to recommit the U.S.to the Paris Climate Accord that President Trump abandoned previous year. Ted Cruz turned O'Rourke into a national Democratic celebrity. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Diana Delrosario, a social worker in San Antonio, warned she might cry while she recounted how Castro once went out of his way as mayor to help wheel her mother out of a restaurant.
Most of his speech highlighted his family's immigrant history and San Antonio roots - his grandmother moved to the United States in the 1920s and his mother is a longtime community activist.
National Democrats, looking to develop young Hispanic leaders and make inroads in that critical election demographic, began mentioning Castro as a budding star.
The then-mayor rose to national prominence in 2012 when he was selected to give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Two years later, President Barack Obama picked him to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Tim Kaine was eventually selected to be Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 presidential race, and the Republicans won.
Urging the enthusiastic crowd to look around the blue-collar neighborhood where he grew up, Castro said, "There are no front-runners that are born here, but I've always believed that with big dreams and hard work, anything is possible in this country".
Castro launched an exploratory committee for a potential campaign on December 12, citing a platform built on opportunity, education, housing, health care, immigration and the environment.