Texas Democrat Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor who went on to be the top U.S. housing official, formally announced his White House bid on Saturday, making him the first Hispanic in what looks to be a crowded field of candidates vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.
The then-mayor rose to national prominence in 2012 when he was selected to give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
Since announcing his presidential exploratory committee, however, he has planted himself firmly within the rising progressive side of the Democratic Party.
The 44-year-old, who rose to national prominence with an electrifying keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic convention, seems set to become the second high-profile Democrat to announce their candidacy for 2020 following MA senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign launch at the end of last year. Former US Representative John Delaney has been running for more than a year, and US Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA has formed an exploratory committee and has begun holding campaign events in Iowa and New Hampshire, the states with the earliest contests.
Castro may not be the only Texan in the race, however.
"Well, I'm not the frontrunner", Castro, 44, told NBC News. If you go to the neighborhood that I grew up in, nobody that was growing up there was the frontrunner.
Until now only former congressman John Delaney has formally launched a campaign, more than a year ago. O'Rourke raised more money than Cruz.
More than a dozen potential Democratic candidates are exploring a possible run for president in 2020.
Some Democrats believe an establishment figure who can appeal to centrist voters is the way to win back the White House.
Castro and O'Rourke could join the likes of former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen.
"There's not a clear road for him right away to the top tier", University of New Hampshire political scientist Dante Scala said in The Dallas Morning News. Eight years later, he was elected mayor.
A lawyer by training, Castro was born into a noted family of political activists.
In an interview with NBC News on Friday, Castro said: "Mine is an immigrant story". Their mother, Rosie Castro, was one of the leaders of La Raza Unida, a 1970's radical "Chicano" movement promoting civil rights for Mexican-Americans, mostly in Texas and Southern California during the height of the movement. It's a testament that everybody counts in this country.
Joining Castro at the campaign kickoff was his twin brother, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman of the Hispanic congressional caucus and a frequent Trump critic.
At age 26, Julian Castro became the youngest member elected to the San Antonio City Council, and served as mayor until 2014.
"In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay", Castro said. "People want to know that somebody has the right experience and that they have the right vision to make sure that their family can succeed in this country".