Democrat Julian Castro of Texas launches 2020 US presidential bid

File photo of Julian Castro. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Texas, USA Jan 13, 2019, 06.30 AM (IST)

Texas Democrat Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor who went on to be the top US housing official, announced his White House bid on Saturday, the first Hispanic in what looks to be a crowded field of candidates vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

Castro, 44, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama and has long been viewed as a rising star in the party. He will seek to position himself as a political outsider with liberal credentials.

Castro has endorsed the "Medicare for all" proposal, which would in effect create a national health care plan by allowing anyone to join the public health care system. That policy point is likely to divide Democrats in the primary, with more moderate candidates favouring a less drastic approach.

Castro, whose grandmother was born in Mexico, has sought to use his family's personal story to criticise Trump's border policies.

More than a dozen potential Democratic candidates are exploring a possible run for president in 2020. Moderates and progressives in the party have been debating about how to best challenge Trump, the likely Republican nominee.

Some Democrats believe an establishment figure who can appeal to centrist voters is the way to win back the White House. Others contend a fresh face is needed to energize the party's increasingly left-leaning base.

Castro, who was considered on the short list to be Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 election, will try to leverage his Obama administration experience while making the case he is still a political newcomer.

Castro's identical twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a member of the US House of Representatives from Texas. Joaquin Castro's position on the House Intelligence Committee has made him a frequent public critic of the president.

Story highlights

Castro, 44, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama and has long been viewed as a rising star in the party.