Julián Castro: Everything you need to know about the 2020 presidential candidate

Castro dropped his White House bid after falling short in polling, fundraising.

January 2, 2020, 2:33 PM

Julián Castro, former housing and urban development secretary under President Barack Obama and former San Antonio, Texas, mayor, entered the 2020 presidential race in January 2019. He is the first Mexican-American to seek the presidency.

Out of the running: Castro announced the conclusion of his White House bid on Jan. 2, after falling short in polling, fundraising, and eventually failing to make the November and December debate stages.

Name: Julián Castro

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: Sept. 16, 1974

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Family: He is married to Erica Castro and they have one daughter and one son. He has a twin brother, Joaquin Castro, who currently serves in the House representing Texas' 20th Congressional District.

Education: J.D., Harvard Law School (2000); B.A., Stanford University (1996)

What he does now: Castro has been running for president since January 2019.

What he used to do: He served as secretary of the department of housing and urban development from 2014 to 2017 under President Barack Obama. He served as San Antonio, Texas, mayor from 2009 to 2014 and on the San Antonio City Council from 2001 to 2005.

Key life/career moments:

Castro was shortlisted as Hillary Clinton's potential running mate in 2016.

He gained a national political profile in 2012, when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. He was the first Hispanic to do so.

When Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001 at age 26, he was the youngest city councilman in the city's history.

Julian Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, speaks at Saint Anselm College, Jan. 16, 2019, in Manchester, N.H.
Mary Schwalm/AP

Where he stands on some of the issues:

Castro has advocated for decriminalizing illegal border crossings, making them a civil penalty instead of criminal penalty, and said that family separation "is a cruel practice." He refuted the claim that his plan calls for open borders and said that those crossing the border would still face repercussions including deportation.

Castro agrees with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that "everyone who wants Medicare should have it," but does not side with Sander's proposal to eliminate private health insurance.

When it comes to gun control, Castro supports universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and gun buybacks which he noted "have had mixed success," but said are "good policy" in certain instances.


Following a breakout performance at the first Democratic presidential debate, Castro saw his strongest spike in fundraising, according to Castro's campaign. The campaign announced it raised 3,266% more money the day after the first debate than it had in the previous two days.

In the second fundraising quarter, Castro amassed $2.8 million in total and has $1.1 million cash left on hand.

Julian Castro, former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary and San Antonio Mayor, announces his candidacy for president in 2020 at Plaza Guadalupe, Jan. 12, 2019.
Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images

What you might not know about him:

Castro was named in the "Young Global Leaders" list by the World Economic Forum and the "40 Under 40" list of rising stars in American politics by Time magazine in 2010.

He worked as a White House intern in 1994.

Castro published his memoir, "An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream," in late 2018.

He has a twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.

Castro's grandmother moved to the United States from Mexico in the 1920s and his mother is a longtime community activist.