Julian Castro drops out of Democratic presidential race
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro dropped out of the presidential race after lagging in fundraising and opinion polls.
"It's with profound gratitude to all our supporters that I suspend my campaign for president today," Castro said Thursday in a tweet.
As the sole Latino candidate and former mayor of San Antonio, Castro focused a large part of his campaign on immigration reform and criticizing President Donald Trump's handling of the border crisis.
Castro's departure means the Democratic field loses another minority candidate. With the departure of California Senator Kamala Harris, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker failing to qualify for December's debate, some have begun to express concern that the party's primary field does not represent the diversity of Democratic voters.
"We've stood up for the most vulnerable Americans -- folks who are left out, cast aside, marginalized. We've fought for not only the middle class, but also the poor and those who are struggling the most," Castro said in a statement issued by his campaign.
Castro said Oct. 21 that he needed to raise $800,000 by the end of the month or he would drop out. Booker made a similar fundraising appeal exactly a month prior but asked for more than double the amount Castro sought.
Throughout the race, Castro consistently polled at or below 1% and only made national headlines when he sparred with competitors on the debate stage.
At the third debate in Houston, Castro, 45, questioned former Vice President Joe Biden's short-term memory. Castro repeated, "Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?" to the 77-year-old Biden over what he said was Biden contradicting himself on his health care plan.
"I'm filling the legacy of Barack Obama and you're not," said Castro, who served as Obama's HUD secretary.
"That will be a surprise to him," Biden replied.
Castro's experience at HUD gave him a platform of ideas to improve public housing. He also called for universal pre-kindergarten nationally, a policy he implemented as mayor.
Castro supported progressive policies like Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and an increase in taxes for the wealthy -- all of which were already being championed by rivals Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts senator, and Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont.
Castro raised $1.3 million in the first quarter and $2.8 million in the second quarter.
(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)