Julian Castro to join Voto Latino as senior adviser

Julian Castro

Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary and 2020 presidential candidate, said on Friday that he has joined Voto Latino, the nation’s largest Latino-focused political organization, as part of an effort to mobilize younger Latino voters.

Castro, who suspended his presidential campaign in January, is teaming up with Voto Latino on the heels of its first-ever political endorsement, lending its support in April to Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Castro, who has not formally endorsed the former vice president, said he has not spoken with Biden since exiting the race.

“I look forward to doing that and, of course, doing everything I can to ensure that he’s successful and we defeat Donald Trump,” Castro said in an interview. He added that in addition to his work with Voto Latino he has plans to roll out a new political action committee supporting young, progressive candidates in battleground states.

“When we think about those states that are important swing states, Latinos are going to play a big role there,” Castro said, mentioning Florida, Arizona and Michigan as swing states with large Latino populations. “I wanted to join forces with an organization that has an unparalleled record of actually registering and mobilizing Latinos, particularly young Latinos. Nobody has a better track record of registering and mobilizing Latinx voters than Voto Latino.”

Voto Latino has made voter registration and outreach to young Latinos a cornerstone of its efforts since its founding in 2004. Since 2018, it has registered more than 300,000 voters and plans to expand to 500,000 in time for the general election on Nov. 3 as part of a goal to register 1 million voters. Before launching his presidential campaign in 2018, Castro sat on its board of directors.

The group also plans to more than double its fundraising, from $11 million currently, to $25 million by November. It’s an ambitious goal, but one that Voto Latino’s founding president and CEO, Maria Teresa Kumar, maintains is possible through its aggressive outreach strategy to philanthropists and Latin-American women combined with Castro’s added star power.

“There’s this misconception that voter registration cannot be done in the face of Covid. And so people are kind of speeding to a halt,” Kumar explained. “What we’ve been able to demonstrate is that is not the case. Not only are we registering but we’re 20 percent to our [voter registration] goal.”

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