A little more than a year after he didn’t become Hillary Clinton‘s running mate, Julian Castro remains a hot political entity.
The former San Antonio Mayor and Barack Obama‘s Housing and Urban Development Secretary told reporters in South St. Petersburg Friday that his only immediate political plans are helping out as many good Democrats as possible for the 2018 midterm elections.
Castro is getting a head start, though, coming to town to help St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman‘s re-election bid.
“It’s not too often that you have a mayor who has gotten as many things done as Mayor Kriseman has and created greater opportunities for the city,” Castro said. “So, when they called I was glad to come out and help.”
“They” would be the Democratic National Committee.
DNC Chair Tom Perez said Friday that the national party cares very much about Kriseman’s battle with former two-term Mayor Rick Baker, a Republican.
“The new DNC is about electing Democrats from the school board to the Oval Office, so we are doubling-down on our commitment to re-elect Mayor Rick Kriseman and electing Democrats up and down the ticket,” Perez said.
“St. Petersburg deserves the proven leadership of Mayor Kriseman, who will continue to tackle the big challenges facing Floridians and who has worked to reduce poverty and provide [an] opportunity to every citizen of St. Pete,” Perez continued. “Unlike Rick Baker, there’s no one Mayor Kriseman won’t stand up to — including Rick Scott and Donald Trump.”
Democrats in Texas had recruited him to consider a run against Ted Cruz in the Senate or Greg Abbott for governor, but Castro said he turned those opportunities down. Instead, he is focusing on writing a book and teaching at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.
“I’m going to be out there basically helping great candidates and leaders in different parts of the country, and then we’ll see after that,” Castro said, adding that he is definitely considering a 2020 White House run.
“I’ve said very clearly I’m not going to take that off the table,” he said.
With Latinos becoming a larger portion of the U.S. population, the Mexican-American Castro emerged as a serious vice presidential possibility in 2016; he also could be a contender for either side of a Democratic ticket in 2020.
Castro and Kriseman (joined by Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel) visited the offices of the Pinellas Ex-offender Re-entry Coalition (PERC) 16th Street South, part of the Southside CRA. Afterward, he joined Congressman Charlie Crist for a private fundraiser for Kriseman.
On Saturday, Castro will appear in Orlando as the lunchtime speaker at the Florida Democratic Party statewide conference.
(Photo by Kim DeFalco).