Castro Uses Booker’s Fundraising Tactic, Threatens to End Campaign

'If I can’t make the next debate stage, we cannot sustain a campaign that can make it to Iowa in February'

Julian Castro / Getty Images

Struggling presidential candidate Julián Castro (D.) told supporters Monday that he will end his campaign if he does not reach a self-imposed fundraising goal by the end of October.

He wrote in an email that his operation is in "dire need of financial resources to keep going," and that those resources need to be raised by the end of the month, or he will drop out. The deadline gives Castro's campaign 10 days to raise $800,000 to stay in the race.

"If I can’t make the next debate stage, we cannot sustain a campaign that can make it to Iowa in February," Castro wrote, according to BuzzFeed.

Castro has met the Democratic National Committee's 165,000 individual-donor requirement, but claims he needs additional funding to conduct the polling required for the fifth Democratic debate being held next month.

He also posted the appeal to Twitter:

Castro's appeal emulates Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), who in September told supporters he was facing the possibility of dropping out if he could not reach a self-imposed donor requirement. The gambit worked, and Booker experienced the best 10-day fundraising period of his campaign.

Castro has previously said he will not continue his campaign if he cannot qualify for the fifth debate. Maya Rupert, Castro's campaign manager, then downplayed the fundraising issues, but the campaign now appears to be embracing a high-stakes approach.

Castro enjoyed a surge in donations after an attack on former vice president Joe Biden's memory at the third Democratic debate, and also reported his most successful quarter yet with $3.5 million raised.

However, he has spent money aggressively, and entered the fourth quarter of 2019 with less than $700,000 on hand, according to CNN. The $3.5 million raised is on the low end for remaining Democratic candidates, trailing fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke (D.), who raised $4.5 million.

Eight Democratic candidates have qualified for the fifth debate so far. Castro, O'Rourke, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) all face the prospect of missing out on the fifth debate after participating in the fourth.