Castro’s announcement came after months of speculation that he would throw his hat in the ring and compete against prominent candidate MJ Hegar for the party’s nomination. Hegar promised to keep the race “civil” prior to Castro’s announcement that he would not be entering the race.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, Castro had only $87,572.67 cash on hand as of March 31, making a potential bid for the U.S. Senate seem increasingly less likely to many of those waiting for an announcement.
Castro’s twin brother, Julian, is running for President in 2020, and the congressman’s top aides have been quoted saying the time he spent on the road campaigning for his brother had affected his own campaign efforts.
Similarly, MJ Hegar reported having only $36,904.97 cash on hand at the end of March. However, she is known as a formidable fundraiser, having raised and spent over $5 million dollars when she unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House against Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31) in 2018.
“I have tremendous respect for Congressman Castro and his commitment to public service, and I know Texas will continue to benefit from his strong leadership,” said Hegar in a statement. “I am laser-focused on our shared goal of defeating Senator Cornyn next November. Texans deserve a new Senator who reflects our values of strength, courage, and independence – someone who will always do what’s right and put Texas first.”
An Air Force Veteran who also served with the National Guard, Hegar is expected to run a strong campaign against Cornyn if she were to secure the Democratic nomination.
According to FEC filings, Cornyn’s cash on hand sits at over $7 million.
John Jackson, Cornyn’s campaign manager, issued a statement immediately following Castro’s announcement:
“Despite Rep. Castro saying he was all but certain to run, Chuck Schumer and DC Democrats had other ideas. Chuck Schumer recruited and picked MJ ‘Hollywood’ Hegar instead, pushing Castro aside and ignoring Texas Latino grassroots. Hollywood Hegar may have the support of the New York and California elites but she has none in Texas. Shame on Chuck Schumer and DC Democrats for forcing a high-profile Hispanic leader out of the Senate race.”
Three lesser-known candidates, Michael Cooper, Sema Hernandez, and Adrian Ocegueda have also entered the Democratic primary.
Elected in 2012, Castro is now serving in his fourth term as the congressman for Texas’ 20th Congressional District, primarily comprised of the city of San Antonio and found entirely within the confines of Bexar County. In the 2018 general election, Castro faced only a libertarian opponent who garnered just 19 percent of the vote.
Castro is the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Additionally, he serves on the Committee on Education and Labor and the Intelligence committee.
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McKenzie Taylor serves as Senior Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.