Last year when Julián Castro declared that he was running for president, few were surprised. But it was clear with the crowded field of candidates it would be an uphill battle for the former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development to win the nomination. But sometimes campaigns catch the zeitgeist.
Castro gained national attention in 2012 when he was the first Mexican American to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention.
In 2014 he resigned as San Antonio mayor when President Barack Obama appointed him HUD secretary.
In the last presidential election cycle, Hillary Clinton publicly considered Castro for her running mate.
Of course, Clinton did not tap Castro for the VP post. But perhaps it was that experience that showed him he needed to set his own course to the White House if he was going to get there.
Castro’s candidacy didn’t catch fire. He had some moments on the debate stage nevertheless without the big campaign cash hauls and double digit poll showing. Soon after the start of the new year, he released a video where he announced that he was out of the race for the Democratic nomination.
Days later, he released another campaign video announcing his endorsement of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Just before that endorsement announcement, I went to Castro’s defunct campaign headquarters. There were still the posters and signs on the wall declaring this is Castro Country and Julian is the future. I sat down with Castro to talk about what went wrong and what happens next.