Julian Castro, who narrowly lost the 2005 Mayoral race in San Antonio to outgoing Mayor Phil Hardberger, was endorsed for the office this year by the San Antonio Express News.
Castro is the best prepared candidate, and he offers the best option for voters in this race.
Since his loss to Hardberger in 2005, Castro has not taken his eye off the goal of succeeding his formal rival.
He has determinedly courted a business community that was skeptical of him four years ago.
And, notably, Castro cites economic growth as the mayor’s first job.
Meanwhile, an effort by some in the business community to recruit a candidate in the Hardberger mold failed.
And as a result of those factors, Castro has earned a significant share of support from a business community that is split between the three leading contenders. He already enjoyed considerable grass-roots strength.
Castro, now 34, has matured in the four years since he faced Hardberger.
And his 2009 campaign has avoided the many missteps that doomed his earlier run.
Not using his twin brother, State Rep. Joaquin Castro, as a stand-in was a good start. More seriously, Castro is a strong favorite to win, and might take it in the first round. Given that he’s just 34 now, that raises the question of where he might go from here.
Castro’s foes criticize him as overly ambitious, although he has not publicly expressed a desire for any political job other than mayor.
It’s hard to imagine that he hasn’t given the matter some thought. Assuming he does win this race, and that a Democrat doesn’t win the Governor’s race next year, Castro would be stepping down from this job in May of 2013, in plenty of time for the next go-round there. Anyone want to hop on board the Castro for Governor 2014 bandwagon? John Cornyn’s Senate seat will be up that year, too, if you want a different option. It’s never too early to speculate, after all. SA Mayor has more.
UPDATE: As Randy reminds me in the comments, SA’s extreme term limits law was loosened last years, so Castro – or whoever wins, of course – could serve till 2017. So my speculation is even more ridiculously premature. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.