As Beto O’Rourke, everyone’s favorite Texas Democrat – or favorite to laugh at, depending on political alignment – dropped out of the race for the White House this week, the question that once again springs to mind is: “Who’s next?” The answer just might be another Texan: Julián Castro.
The former U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary announced last month that if he couldn’t bring in $800,000 in donations over the last ten days of October, he would cancel his campaign. Well, he made it – got to a smooth million, actually. Still, he has struggled since the beginning to compete both in polling and donations with the more popular candidates. He allegedly has no plans of calling it quits now, but he is trimming his campaign considerably, and one wonders how much more he can shave off before simply has nothing left.
Apparently, before the big fundraising push in October, Castro’s senior staff told those lower on the totem pole that they were free to look for other jobs with other campaigns. Translation: “It’s time to start looking for another job; you might not have this one for much longer.”
“In pushing to keep Secretary Castro’s critical voice in this race. Our campaign, like many others, will make adjustments in staffing and resources,” Sawyer Hackett, Castro’s national press secretary, said. “This race is shifting as we speak, and Julián will continue to be fearless and defy expectations by making the most of our resources.”
Castro is reportedly being supportive of his staffers who are looking elsewhere for work, and he is narrowing his focus to Iowa, Nevada, and Texas as the states in which he plans to make his stand. He is supposedly abandoning New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Castro is refocusing his campaign message to fighting poverty. “Somewhere along the way in our country, we forgot to talk about the poor, to talk about the most vulnerable,” Castro said Friday at the Liberty & Justice Celebration in Des Moines, IA. “We are great at talking about the middle class and we need to fight for the middle class … but we also need to fight for the poor and those who have the least, those who suffer the most.”
It’s an interesting issue to focus on while contributing to unemployment by cutting his own staffers loose.
Time will tell if Castro’s pruning will turn things around. The next round of debates is scheduled for November 20, but he still hasn’t qualified. He needs to hit 3% or more in four qualified polls by November 13. So far, he is at zero.
Castro seems unlikely to qualify for this next debate, but would he fight on anyway even if he doesn’t? Or would he have a Beto moment of clarity and realize that he’s out of the fight?