AUSTIN (KXAN) – With the midterm elections behind us, some people are beginning to look ahead to the 2020 election cycle. Two Texans are drawing early attention in the race for the White House.
Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro made a splash by announcing on social media that he’s creating a presidential exploratory committee. That’s a step that will likely lead to a formal presidential campaign.
“I’ll be talking with folks over the next several weeks, and we’ll make an announcement about my plans on January 12, here in Texas,” Castro said in his video.
Castro served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama. NBC News reported that he was vetted by the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign as a potential vice presidential candidate.
Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, currently represents Texas in Congress.
But he’s not the only Texan with presidential possibility. The influential progressive group MoveOn released its straw poll of top Democratic contenders for 2020. Former Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke was the top name on the list, narrowly edging former Vice President Joe Biden in the poll.
Neither Biden nor O’Rourke have announced plans to run for president.
Castro ranked 17th in the straw poll. But he told reporters he did not expect to start at the front of the pack.
“I can’t think of a time in my life where I started out as a front runner,” Castro told reporters. “There are a lot of people today in America that don’t feel like front runners, and I’m going to go speak to them,” he said, before adding that he believes he can win the nomination.
Several Democrats have been testing the waters for a potential White House bid. More than 33 candidates drew some support in the MoveOn straw poll.
“It looks to me like everybody and their uncle is running for president on the Democratic side,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “We had 17 people running when President Trump was nominated and won,” Cornyn added. “They’re going to have even more than that.”
Cornyn had previously announced that he would run for re-election to the U.S. Senate. But in the past week, he picked up two notable endorsements. One was from fellow Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), that came in a joint video released online.
The other endorsement came from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R-Texas). Some political observers had considered Patrick as a potential challenger for Cornyn.
Senator Cornyn says he welcomes the support. He pointed to last November’s close race between Cruz and O’Rourke as a sign of changing times for Texas Republicans.
“We can’t only be concerned about primary elections, we need to be concerned about general elections,” Cornyn said. “We need to be talking about the things my constituents care about.”