AUSTIN (KXAN) — Julián Castro — formerly a presidential candidate, secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, and mayor of San Antonio — told KXAN this week that it’s “very unlikely” that he will seek any elected office in 2022.
Castro said he is focused on helping elect Democratic candidates through his political action committee, People First Future.
“Right now, I don’t plan to run in 2022,” Castro said. “I feel like I just went through the marathon of 2020 and then supported candidates and so, right now, I don’t have a target in mind in terms of when I’m going to run again.”
On Thursday, Beto O’Rourke stoked 2022 rumors by telling an El Paso radio station that he’s going to think about challenging Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, who has already announced he’ll seek a third term.
“You know what, it’s something I’m going to think about,” O’Rourke said close to the end of the 15-minute interview on KLAQ.
O’Rourke suggested Abbott’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic may affect his own thinking about getting into the race.
Asked about O’Rourke’s comments, Dave Carney, Abbott’s senior political adviser said: “Narcissists are going to be narcissistic.”
Abbott won re-election by 1.1 million votes in 2018 and defeated Democrat Wendy Davis by nearly 2 million votes in 2014. According to a recent survey by Texas Lyceum, Abbott has an approval rating of 59%.
Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the political window could soon close for candidates like O’Rourke and Castro, if they don’t win races soon.
“There’s a real shelf life for a political career if you can’t strike while the iron is hot,” Rottinghaus told KXAN. “The likelihood is that activists are going to move on, donors are going to consider new people, and people are going to forget you.”
KXAN politics reporter John Engel will have a full report tonight at 6 p.m.