Julian Castro Qualifies for Third Democratic Primary Debate

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro speaks during a FOX News Channel town hall event on June 13, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

SAN ANTONIO (CN) – Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro became the 10th candidate to secure a spot in the September primary debate after reaching both the 130,000-donor requirement and polling threshold set by the Democratic National Committee, his campaign said Tuesday.

The former Obama cabinet official and San Antonio mayor received 2% in his fourth qualifying poll, a CNN/SRSS national poll released Tuesday. In July, Castro met the required 130,000 unique donors needed to be eligible for the next round of Democratic presidential debates.

“With two standout debate performances, Secretary Castro has been building momentum for his candidacy,” Castro’s campaign manager Maya Rupert said. “He has never wanted to be a ‘flash in the pan’ candidate, but rather has continued to build support and momentum by leading the field on critical issues and showing voters every day why he’s the best candidate to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump.”

Since announcing his candidacy for president on Jan. 12, Castro, the only Latino in the crowded field of 2020 candidates, has struggled to gain traction in early polls and fundraising. But his campaign received a much needed burst of support following a well received first debate performance in Miami, where he sparred with fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke on immigration.

Castro becomes the 10th candidate to qualify for the two fall debates, joining O’Rourke, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang.

Candidates have until Aug. 28 to qualify for the next debate, hosted by ABC News and Univision and scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13. An October debate location has yet to be announced by the DNC. They must have both 130,000 unique donors, including 400 unique donors in at least 20 states, and hit at least 2% in four national polls approved by the DNC.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee inched closer to qualifying for the September debate stage after passing the 130,000 unique donor threshold Monday, but came short on the polling requirement.

Castro on Monday unveiled a plan aimed at protecting the welfare of animals and wildlife, which includes rollbacks to Trump administration efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.

The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development will be in Sioux City, Iowa, on Tuesday to meet with indigenous leaders from across the nation before campaign events in Des Moines, Altoona and Newton.

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