Julian Castro, the former Obama Housing and Urban Development secretary, says he is forming a presidential exploratory committee, the first step toward a White House bid in 2020. He said he will announce his decision Jan. 12.
Castro, the 44-year-old former mayor of San Antonio, said he plans to spend the next several weeks visiting the early primary states of New Hampshire and Iowa.
"People are ready to get on a better track with leadership that's focused on creating opportunity for everybody and trying to bring the country together, rather than tear us apart," he told CBS News. "I've had a chance over the last several years to get a sense of what people are looking for. I've visited more than 100 communities across the United States and I believe they're ready for new leadership."
Castro has spent the last two years as a guest lecturer at the University of Texas and other universities and recently published a memoir that was seen as his treatise for a potential campaign. He had passed on a 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate or governor in Texas, a signeventually launching a presidential campaign.
In a field of candidates that could include dozens of current and former lawmakers, governors and mayors, Castro said he will cite his "track record of getting things done at the local and the federal level."
"There are going to be a lot of talented people running and I look forward to making my case to the voters," he added.
Castro, who is Mexican-American, made the announcement about his exploratory committee standing in front of a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe; Dec. 12 is the feast day for the saint, a venerated figure in Mexico.
Castro has a twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, who is poised to be a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee next year and to hold a senior position in his brother's campaign, likely in a fundraising role, given that both brothers have been popular draws on the county and state party fundraising circuit for several years.