Elections 2020FederalIssuesJulián Castro Officially Qualifies for the September Presidential Debate

With the Iowa caucus less than six months away, Castro is running out of time to close the support gap and compete with the frontrunners.
August 20, 2019
Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro qualified for the September 12 debate in Houston with eight days to spare thanks to a CNN poll just released. It shows Castro at two percent, putting him over the bar for debate qualifications.

To qualify, Castro needed 130,000 donors (which he hit on July 8), and then register at two percent in at least two polls. The first of those dominos fell thanks to a poll by The Hill, and the second came today from CNN.

Castro joins fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke as well as former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), along with South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and businessman Andrew Yang on stage in Houston next month.

Castro tussled with O’Rourke in the first debate, criticizing him for not supporting the decriminalization of illegal immigration.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, Castro has raised over $4 million with just under 20 percent of those donors coming from Texas.

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Castro is polling only slightly better in Texas. The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average has Castro at 3.3 percent in Texas — with him reaching as high as four percent in CBS News and Quinnipiac polls.

O’Rourke’s RCP Texas average is over five times Castro’s.

Yesterday, Castro unveiled his Protecting Animals and Wildlife (PAW) Plan that would prohibit euthanizing healthy animals in shelters and instead launch a “national program to spay and neuter animals.”

On August 13, Castro began running his newest campaign ad which accused President Trump of “stok[ing] the fire of racists,” which he says contributed to the El Paso shooting.

Castro campaign manager Maya Rupert stated, “With two standout debate performances, Secretary Castro has been building momentum for his candidacy.”

Rupert continued, “He has never wanted to be a ‘flash in the pan’ candidate, but rather has continued to build support and momentum by leading the field on critical issues and showing voters every day why he’s the best candidate to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump.”

With a little over a week left to qualify, September’s debate participants may increase by one or two with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand needing to meet the fundraising goal while late-entrant and billionaire Tom Steyer must register at two percent in one more poll.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.