Julian Castro Heads to New Hampshire to Test 2020 Presidential Run

Obama's HUD secretary has 'every interest in running'

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro / Getty Images

Julian Castro, secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama, will take an apparent step toward a 2020 presidential run when he addresses the New Hampshire Young Democrats Granite Slate Awards dinner next Friday, Feb. 16.

Castro first broke onto the national scene in 2012 when he delivered a heavily praised address at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Castro, who served as Mayor of San Antonio before joining the Obama administration, was on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's short-list for vice president during the 2016 presidential election.

The announcement of Castro's upcoming engagement sparked speculation Castro would run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.  New Hampshire, the first state in the nation to host its primary, is often pivotal for candidates who hope to show themselves as capable and credible to carry their party's banner in the general election.

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"I have every interest in running," Castro told NBC news. "Part of the process of figuring out whether I'm going to run is going to listen to folks and feel the temperature" of voters."

Since leaving office, Castro has been a vocal and frequent critic of President Donald Trump and has shown a willingness to campaign for Democrats up and down the ballot, even setting up a political action committee to raise funds for candidates. Those activities will continue throughout the 2018 election cycle.

"I'm going to spend my time in 2018 making sure that great young progressive candidates get elected. I've been very impressed with the ground work the New Hampshire Democrats have done getting young people to step up, supporting candidates to take back important seats," Castro said.

Castro in part lost out on being Clinton's running mate because progressive organizations came out against his tenure at HUD when he allegedly sold delinquent mortgages to Wall Street. In July of 2016, Castro was found to be in violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits government officials from engaging in political activity while on the job. Obama chose not to reprimand Castro for the violation and he continued to serve in his official capacity until the president left office.