Julián Castro will decide whether to run for president by end of 2018

Julián Castro said Sunday that he will decide by the end of 2018 whether to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

“That’s something I’m going to keep on the table,” Castro said on a panel discussion at the Voto Latino Power Summit at the AT&T Center on the University of Texas Campus, before setting an end-of-2018 deadline to make a decision in answer to a question from moderator Evan Smith, c0-founder and CEO of the Texas Tribune.

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama administration, is teaching at the University of Texas and writing a book.

Voto Latino is nonpartisan organization founded by acress Rosario Dawson that focuses on Latino voter registraito, civic engagement and issue advocacy.

Castro has made no secret of the fact that he is contemplating running for president.

“I’ve said that several times,” Castro told Smith. “I think I’ve told you that three times.”

Asked for his “30-second elevator pitch” as a prospective presidential candidate, Castro said, “I think whoever is going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party is going to have to stand for the future, they are going to have to be everything that Trump is not.”

“So I believe that whether it’s me or somebody else, you want somebody who has a vision for the future, that is fundamentally honest – we’ve’ had too much lying out of the White House – and somebody that’s going to bring people together and not tear people apart the way that Donald Trump has .”

“I have not made any decision to do that,” Castro said of a presidential candidacy. “There are three dozen Democrats that are looking, but I will tell you that we need a very different kind of president than we ve had.”

Despite disaffection with Trump and the possibility that Democrats could benefit from a “wave election” in 2018, Castro acknowledged that, in Texas, “it has been a tough cycle to recruit candidates” for the statewide ticket, with both Castro and his twin brother, Joaquín, passing on a run for statewide office in 2018.

“My brother thought about running for Senate (against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz) but decided not to and (U.S. Rep.) Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is doing a great job,” Castro said, of putting himself into position to win if there is a big Democratic wave nationally that carries into Texas.

Joaquín Castro also passed on running for governor.

“He’s not” running, his brother said.

Smith asked if that’s 100 percent, and Julián Castro replied that, “as much as we like to think we’re the same person, we’re actually two different people, so, I can only rule him out 99 percent.”

Castro shared the Voto Latino stage with former state Sen. Wendy Davis.

When Smith asked Davis, who lost to Gov. Greg Abbott in 2014 by 20 points, whether she might run for governor again in 2018, she replied, “I rule it out 99 percent.”

Why leave a one percent chance she might run, Smith asked.

“Because no one’s stepping forward,” Davis said.

The month-long filing period begins Saturday.

So far, three candidates — Jeffrey Payne of Dallas, Tom Wakely of San Antonio and Garry Brown of Austin — have announced their intention to run for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Andrew White, the son of former Democratic Gov. Mark White, who died in August, is exploring the possibility of a candidacy, but in a Facebook post last week, Davis wrote the White’s “anti-choice” position on abortion made him unacceptable as the party’s nominee: “Uhh - no. Just no.”

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to indicate that Castro said he will decide by the end of 2018, not this year, whether he is going to run for president in 2020.

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