Washington — Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is dropping out of the presidential race, he announced in a video released by his campaign on Thursday.
"With only a month before the Iowa caucuses, and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I have determined that it simply isn't our time," Castro said in the video. "So today it is with a heavy heart and profound gratitude that I will suspend my campaign for president."
Castro, who served as mayor of San Antonio for five years before joining the Obama administration in 2014, struggled to find a foothold in a crowded Democratic primary field and lagged behind other candidates in terms of fundraising. In November, the campaignin New Hampshire and South Carolina, and Castro failed to meet the threshold to appear at the most recent debate in December.
Castro, the only Latino candidate in the race, focused his campaign on issues like immigration, poverty and police brutality. In the video announcing the end of his campaign, Castro stressed his advocacy for the "most vulnerable folks in this country" and referenced the names of several black Americans killed by police officers in recent years.
His campaign noted he was the first candidate to travel to Puerto Rico as part of his campaign, and the first to publicly support opening an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
In perhaps the most memorable moment of his bid, Castro clashed with former Vice President Joe Biden over health care during a debate in September. In a heated exchange, Castro suggested repeatedly that Biden had forgotten what he had just said. "Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?" Castro asked, a thinly veiled reference to Biden's gaffes that critics have attributed to his age.
Castro was reportedly on the short list to be Hillary Clinton's pick for vice president in 2016, and could once again be among those considered as a running mate for the eventual Democratic nominee in 2020. Reacting to his decision to drop out, Senator Elizabeth Warren called Castro a "powerful voice" who "will continue to be a leader in our party and our country for many years to come."
Castro's announcement on Thursday comes as other Democratic candidates announced huge fundraising hauls in the fourth quarter of 2019. Pete Buttigiegthat his campaign raised $24.7 million in the fourth quarter, while Bernie Sanders $34 million.
The video announcing his departure ends with Castro saying "ganaremos un día," or, "we will win one day."