Julian Castro Promises Decision on Presidential Run After 2018 Elections

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro announced Tuesday that he would wait until after the 2018 midterm elections to decide whether to launch a presidential run.

Castro, who has been touted as a potential Democratic challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020, appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" to discuss federal housing policy, but was also asked about his political future.

When asked if he had ambitions for the White House, Castro confirmed he was considering a run but said he had yet to finalize a decision as his focus was consumed by the upcoming election cycle.

"I've been fairly straightforward about it," Castro said. "I've said that I'm going to work on helping other candidates that are running in 2018. Obviously we have an election in November, and that is the most important thing."

Castro said he planned to make his intentions known before the end of the year.

"After November, and before the end of the year, I'm gonna make a decision about my own future," Castro said. "I haven't made a decision yet, but I'm going to do that before the end of the year."

When asked why he was contemplating a run, Castro bemoaned what he saw being a "vacuum of leadership" in Washington, D.C.

"What we can see here in Washington, D.C. is a vacuum of leadership," Castro said. "This president is taking the country in the wrong direction and I have always had a positive vision for the future of my community and of the country and that's why I'm thinking about it."

Castro's announcement comes on the heels of a second high-profile trip to New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary election state. On Saturday, Castro delivered the commencement address at New England College, a private, non-profit college in Henniker, New Hampshire. Following the address, Castro met with the chairman of the state's Democratic Party and headlined a fundraiser to help elect Democratic candidates to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Castro previously visited the state in February to address the New Hampshire contingent of Young Democrats.

Castro first broke onto the national scene in 2012 when President Barack Obama tapped him, then a little-known mayor of San Antonio, to deliver the keynote address at that year's Democratic National Convention (DNC). The speech, which was highly praised, launch Castro's image as a rising star in the Democratic Party. It was an image further cemented when Obama plucked the mayor to lead HUD in 2014.

Throughout the 2016 Democratic primary cycle, Castro topped the list of potential running mates for Hillary Clinton. Party activists claimed his youth and background would help Clinton make inroads with the nation's growing Latino population.

Castro's star, however, began to diminish in July of 2016 when he was accused of violating the Hatch Act, a federal law prohibiting government officials from engaging in political activity while on the job. The Obama administration chose not to reprimand Castro for the violation.

Around the same time, Castro also fell afoul of the Democratic's Party's progressive base, which grew more prominent as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), a self-described Democratic socialist, put up a stronger than expected challenge to Clinton. In the lead up to the 2016 DNC, progressive organizations launched a concerted effort to block Castro's ascension to the number two spot on the ticket, alleging he sold delinquent mortgages to Wall Street during his tenure at HUD. Clinton eventually tapped Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) as her running mate.

Since departing the Obama administration, Castro has been a vocal critic of Trump and the Republican agenda. In January, the former secretary launched a political action committee to help raise money for Democrats up and down the ballot and bolster the party's efforts to retake the U.S. House of Representatives.