The first Democratic presidential candidate debate is Wednesday night in Miami. Candidates are split into two separate debates scheduled for June 26 and 27.
Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke will be on stage with eight other candidates: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, John Delaney, Bill de Blasio and Tim Ryan.
While O’Rourke had an initial bump of momentum when he entered the race, his recent poll numbers have dropped him out of the top five. Castro has struggled to get above one percent in polls.
Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, will stand alongside more popular candidates like Warren, a Massachusetts senator, on the first night of the two-night town hall event.
Castro brushed off talk that if Warren wins the Democratic presidential nomination, he would be a suitable running mate.
“I’ve enjoyed my conversations with Sen. Warren, and I’m looking forward to seeing her on the debate stage as well, but right now I’m focused on myself,” Castro said.
Castro said he plans to stand out from the crowd with his immigration reform plan, which he unveiled ahead of the other candidates.
“The challenge is to make sure I capitalize on that and then do well in the debate and let people know about my ideas so that we can have a more prosperous United States,” Castro said.
His reform ideas include providing a pathway to citizenship, decriminalizing illegal crossings and redesigning the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
Both debates will broadcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo and begin at 8 p.m. CST.
Ryan Poppe can be reached at RPoppe@TPR.org and on Twitter at @RyanPoppe1