Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro announced Monday that he may have to drop out of the 2020 race if his campaign doesn’t raise $800,000 by October 31.
While the former Secretary of House and Urban Development isn’t the only contender to threaten stepping down in an effort to raise donor dollars, his case is particularly dire. The Mexican-American politico has consistently polled in the low single digits, risks not qualifying for the Democratic debate stage in November and has yet to receive multiple high-profile endorsements.
“If I can’t raise $800,000 in the next 10 days—I will have no choice but to end my race for President,” Castro said in an email to supporters. “The truth is, for our campaign, these debates have offered our only guaranteed opportunity to share my vision with the American people. If I can’t make the next debate stage, we cannot sustain a campaign that can make it to Iowa in February.”
While Castro has the 165,000 donors required to qualify for the next debate, he has not yet earned 3 percent or higher in four national polls — a DNC requirement. Castro’s campaign said they need more funds for operations in battleground states in order to become competitive in those polls.
According to FEC filings, Castro has $672,000 on hand, not much for a presidential race. Even lower-polling candidates like Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. Steve Bullock, who have not qualified for recent debates, have more in their campaign pockets than Castro. In September, during his last fundraising quarter, he raised just $3.5 million. In comparison, frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders amassed more than $25 million.
“All the progress we’ve made is in serious jeopardy. I started this campaign on a shoestring budget in the neighborhood I grew up in. I didn’t grow up a frontrunner. I didn’t have personal wealth to pump into this race. And we’ve built this campaign without a cent from super PACS or billionaires,” he wrote in the email.
Castro, the only Latino candidate in the primary field, has been one of the first candidates to introduce several progressive policy plans, centering immigration and criminal justice reform.