Joaquin Castro 'all but certain' to challenge John Cornyn for US Senate in Texas

Written by on March 16, 2019

Another Castro brother is set to run for federal office, with Rep. Joaquin Castro squaring up a Texas senate bid to take on incumbent Sen. John Cornyn.

Joaquin Castro, 48, who is beginning his fourth term as part of the Texas congressional delegation in the U.S. House, is said to have made up his mind on running against the former Senate Republican leadership member. Castro has been signaling for weeks an intent to run for the Senate seat in 2020, and with ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s presidential run announcement Thursday, the field for the Democratic nomination in Texas is wide open.

Castro campaign adviser Matthew Jones said on Friday that an announcement on Castro’s decision will come “in the near future.”

He and his twin brother, 2020 Democratic White House hopeful and former San Antonio mayor and Obama Housing Secretary Julian Castro, have long been considered rising stars inside Texas Democratic politics and have served as political reference points for Democrats’ efforts to crack the Republican stronghold on the Lone Star state.

The congressman’s legislative accomplishments have been slim, mainly because his tenure has been as part of the minority. He has been a vocal critic against the Trump administration’s immigration policies. He was elected vice chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee when the Democrats took over the House majority in January. Castro also took over the leadership spot of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a role important to Democratic grassroots activists particularly in his home state.

Since January, Castro has been on the forefront of immigration reform legislation, introducing proposals to reform current immigration policies towards Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children and extending the benefits of Temporary Protected Status holders, who are from certain countries experiencing a natural disaster or armed conflict and get lawful status and permission to work. He has also advocated creating a pathway to legal status, including full citizenship, to DACA and Temporary Protected Status holders.

The Trump administration has sought to wind down the TPS program, as the emergency spurring the status in some cases was decades ago.

Cornyn, 67, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and former Texas Attorney General under then-Gov. George W. Bush, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, taking over the seat vacated by retiring long-timer Sen. Phil Gramm. He has served in various leadership positions, including the Senate majority whip, making him the second-in-command of the institution.

The Cornyn campaign responded with an attack on Castro’s record in a press release Friday, saying that Castro has been on Pelosi’s side on every major legislative issue.

“Whether it’s Hurricane Harvey relief or the Green New Deal, time and again Congressman Castro has stood with Nancy Pelosi at the expense of Texans,” said Cornyn campaign manager John Jackson. “John Cornyn looks forward to contrasting the Democrat-Socialist agenda with the policies that have made Texas the best state to live, work, and raise a family.”

While several high-profile legislators like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., do identify as socialists, Castro is not among them.

Cornyn is the only candidate so far to have announced for the Republican ticket and is expected to remain unopposed in the primary process.

Source: Washington Examiner – Congress

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