Obama protege Julian Castro set to join 2020 race

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More than a dozen potential Democratic candidates are exploring a possible run for president in 2020.

Another Democrat, 37-year-old Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii - a lifelong surfer - announced Friday that she too will seek the party's presidential nomination.

"And the opportunities that made America, America are reaching fewer and fewer people", he said, flanked by his wife Erica and children Carina and Cristian in San Antonio's Plaza Guadalupe, among a crowd of a couple hundred people. The ex-housing secretary became the second Democrat to formally enter race, after former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

In a Saturday morning speech at San Antonio's Plaza Guadalupe, Castro denounced President Donald Trump's immigration policies-including his demand for billions of dollars in border wall funding that's produced the longest government shutdown in USA history-and his charaterization of refugees from Central and South America arriving at the Southern border as "a national security crisis".

Some Democrats believe an establishment figure who can appeal to centrist voters is the way to win back the White House.

The impasse over paying for a border wall that Trump made a central part of his 2016 campaign has led to the partial federal closure. "Yeah, we have to have border security, but there is a smart and a humane way to do it". He does, however, have the distinction of being the only Latino in the Democratic field - for now, at least; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose paternal grandfather was born in Mexico, is also considering running. He spoke about the need to address climate change. "It's also a country built by Native Americans", he said.

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Castro is the identical twin brother of Joaquín Castro, who now represents Texas's 20th congressional district.

That group of hopefuls is starting to take shape even though the first primary elections are more than a year away. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is doing little to dim speculation that he might jump into a field that has no clear front-runner.

Castro's entry into the race was widely expected after he formed an exploratory committee last month. Ted Cruz turned O'Rourke into a national Democratic celebrity. He has always been viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party since he first landed on the national scene by delivering the keynote speech for President Barack Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Distancing himself from President Trump's nasty feuds with the "fake news", Castro told his audience that he and his brother Joaquin were considering a career in journalism before they got into politics, so they respect the work members of the press do.

"When my grandmother got here nearly a hundred years ago, I'm sure that she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for president of the United States of America", Castro said.

A lawyer by trade, Castro, 44, caught the eye of former President Barack Obama and others during his tenure as San Antonio mayor.

He was on the short list of Hillary Clinton's potential running mates in 2016.

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