San Antonio Mayor Julian Castros presidential ticket dream is about to get a major boost as President Obama is expected to name him secretary of Housing and Urban Development, according to sources.
The appointment placing Castro in Washington with increased national media exposure would give the 39-year-old political rising star a surprise jump-start should he decide to seek the presidency in 2016, a move almost certain to fire up the growing Latino electorate.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is viewed as the clear early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and there have been reports dating back to early 2013 of a dream ticket of Clinton-Castro.
Such a ticket would give Democrats an even stronger position to firmly hold on to an overwhelming percentage of the Latino vote, which many analysts see as an even stronger king-making voter bloc in coming years, given the increasing numbers of Hispanics eligible to vote.
In 2012, Obama received 75 percent of the Latino vote, but Republicans have indicated likelihood to make a strong bid for a larger chunk of it. No Republican in modern times has ever been elected President without getting at least 30 percent of the Hispanic vote.
In a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco last year, Castro said he has no vision or dream of himself being president.
“I wouldnt put myself in the same league as President Obama, Castro said. Theres a certain something in your gut you have about whats going to happen in your life. Ive never woken up one day and thought, Im going to be president or vice president.”
Its not going to happen.
Potential candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination
Two Republican U.S. Senators — Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas — are considered possible candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Their place on the Republican ticket would go a long way in the party appearing more appealing to Latino voters of immediate importance for Democrats in 2016 is Texas with its 38 electoral votes — and dreams of returning the Lone Star State to the party fold.
Texas has been Republican for almost a generation, and no Democrat has been elected to statewide office since 1994. Jimmy Carter in 1976 was that last Democratic presidential nominee to carry the state.
Castro would succeed Shaun Donovan who will move over to the Office of Management and Budget as its next director in what appears to be the biggest shakeup of Obamas second administration.
Currently serving his third two-year term as mayor of San Antonio, Castro vaulted to national political stardom at the 2012 Democratic National Convention where he delivered the keynote address.
The “Latino Obama”
He has ever since been mentioned in talk about being the Latino Obama, possibly making a run for the White House but more often as a running mate on a national ticket.
His drawback among many, though, was that he had not national platform in terms of office, and San Antonio is the nations seventh largest city.
Castros identical twin brother Joaquin was elected to Congress from a San Antonio district in 2012.
Castro notified San Antonio city officials this weekend of the upcoming appointment.
President Obama is expected to make the announcement early in the week.
While the countrys 53 million Hispanics accounted for just 10 percent of all voters in 2012, they are projected to make up 40 percent of the growth of eligible voters by 2030.
For 2016, no fewer than 15 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin) are considered swing states — and Latino voters could be the margin of victory in a least a dozen of them.
Top Democratic leaders, though, believe that Castro would give the party a unique opportunity to capture the states 38 electoral votes in 2016, given his pull among Latinos as well as by positioning him as a consensus builder along the lines of Texas legend Lyndon Johnson.
In 2013, Castro was offered a position in the second Obama administration, but he turned down becoming secretary of transportation.
Former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, who served in President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet also as HUD secretary, says he urged Castro he accept a position in the second Obama administration.
I thought that if he was going to be vice-presidential material in 2016, then he needed to be more than mayor at that time,” says Cisneros.
Castro chose to remain mayor.