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Julian Castro

Although he is consistently polling at the bottom of the top ten Democratic candidate field, Julian Castro remains determined to make his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination.


Although he is consistently polling at the bottom of the top ten Democratic candidate field, Julian Castro remains determined to make his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1974 to chicanx activist parents. Castro’s twin brother Joaquin Castro is currently serving as a US representative from Texas. Castro has attributed his and his brother’s interest in activism to his mother’s activism and her habit of taking her sons to activist and organizing meetings.

Castro graduated from Stanford University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and communication. At Stanford, both Castro brothers ran for student senate seats and tied for the highest number of votes. Castro interned at the Clinton White House during college. Castro and his brother both graduated from Harvard Law School in 2000.

In 2001, Castro was elected to the San Antonio city council, and in 2005 he made an unsuccessful bid for mayor of the city. After his defeat, he and his brother started their own law firm. In 2009, Castro successfully ran for mayor of San Antonio. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Castro became the first Hispanic person to deliver a keynote address at the DNC convention. In 2014, he became President Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. As HUD secretary, Castro worked to stabilize the housing market and to rebuild communities after natural disasters.


Castro believes that policies should intersect and connect to form a single vision for the country’s future, quoting Audre Lorde’s statement that “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not lead single-issue lives.” Castro is calling his policy agenda “People First.”

Castro’s economic policy is two-pronged: he plans to tax the wealthy and provide relief for working families. He will accomplish the former through an “Inherited Wealth” tax that would “raise the capital gains rate to match the marginal income tax rate for the wealthy.” He would also implement a “Wealth Inequality” tax for the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans that would tax their capital gains annually. Castro would provide relief to working families through a “Working Families First” Credit that would give $3,000 per child to every working family and significantly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. Castro also supports a $15/hour minimum wage.

The policy page on Castro’s website does not explicitly discuss election security; however, he has supported legislation that would require all states to use paper ballots.

Castro’s policy on crime and policing is centered around the high rates of police violence in the United States. He emphasizes three elements in his policing policy: “1. End over-aggressive policing and combat racially discriminatory policing.; 2. Hold police accountable.; 3. Start the healing process between communities and law enforcement.” Achieving these goals involves restricting the use of deadly force, ending  the school-to-prison pipeline, establishing national standards of police conduct, increasing police accountability and transparency, and demilitarizing the police.

In terms of education, Castro has proposed a “Pre-K for USA” program that would create a universal, fully-funded, full-day Pre-K program. He would also support modernization efforts in high schools and invest in music, art, and foreign language programs. Finally, Castro, like several of his competitors, supports free public higher education and alleviating the burden of existing student loan debt.

Castro’s policy page on his website addresses the environment specifically as it relates to lead exposure. 



Overall Media Coverage

Overall Media Coverage

Biden maintained this top ranking of media coverage this week, but Julian Castro notably spiked in the rankings from 10th to 7th–in the wake of debate qualifying.

“By hitting 2 percent in a national poll, Julian Castro became the 10th, and perhaps final, candidate to qualify for the September debate. In fact, it put him into the October debate as well” (New York Times). The volume of media coverage reflected the landmark moment in Castro’s candidacy. “After his successful showing in the Miami debates in June, Castro's fundraising surged and he hit and exceeded the 130,000 individual donors, including 400 unique donors in 20 states, needed to continue on to Houston” (NBC).