Ex-housing official Castro takes step to 2020 U.S. presidential bid

By Ginger Gibson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Julian Castro said on Wednesday he is beginning the process of forming a presidential campaign, entering what is likely to be a crowded field to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

Castro, 44, is a Hispanic from Texas who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama and has long been viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

More than a dozen potential Democratic candidates have begun exploring a possible run for president in 2020 and several are expected to announce their decision in the coming months.

Castro, whose grandmother immigrated to the United State from Mexico, announced that he has formed an exploratory committee – a step that allows him to begin raising money toward a possible campaign – in a video posted on the internet.

“If we want to see a change in this country, we don’t wait. We work, we make the future happen,” Castro said. “I am exploring a candidacy for president of the United States in 2020.”

He said he will make an announcement about his decision on Jan. 12, 2019.

Castro was considered on the short list to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election.

Castro has an identical twin, Joaquin Castro, who is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)