Castro is a former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration. His liberal campaign focused on reforming the nation’s immigration and criminal justice system. He also supported “Medicare for all” and climate change initiatives.
Castro is the latest Democrat to drop out of the 2020 race. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris ended her bid in early December. Former congressman Beto O'Rourke dropped out in October.
Castro was not included in Atlanta's November presidential debate, nor was he in 2019's last debate held in Los Angeles in December. He had warned supporters in a fundraising appeal that failing to make the November debate stage would spell the end of his campaign. He needed to hit at least 3% polling in four early state or national polls but didn't get even one.
As Democrats continue their fierce competition for the minority vote, Castro’s withdrawal leaves the list of remaining candidates even more dominated by older, white people, with former Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg leading in many polls and fundraising.
Sanders, according to the Associated Press, raised more than $34.5 million in the final three months of last year. Sanders' total exceeds the $24.7 million that Buttigieg announced a day earlier that he'd raised during the fourth quarter of last year.
The lead-off Iowa caucuses are Feb. 3, and Sanders and Buttigieg are considered among the front-runners, along with Biden and Warren.
Warren has relied heavily on small donations coming primarily online. Her campaign raised $24.6 million in the third quarter but said in a recent fundraising email that it had collected around only $17 million with a few days to go.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.