State Rep. Joaquin Castro said today he is running next year for U.S. Congress in a new district carved by the state’s Republican majority, likely pitting him in the Democratic primary against U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin.
“This congressional race is all about the future,” Castro said in a prepared statement.
“Just like streets and highways help people get where they need to go, I believe there is an Infrastructure of Opportunity that helps people achieve the American dream. We will build this infrastructure by investing in higher education and job training, by improving public education and by making sure our small businesses succeed,” he said.
Castro has represented the 125th District in the Texas House of Representatives since 2002.
“If you’re going by the numbers, I would say Castro is the heavy favorite,” said Harold Cook, a Democratic political consultant based in Austin. “But if there’s any Anglo candidate, any Austin candidate, who can win this race, it’s Doggett.”
Two things to consider: One, there’s no guarantee that CD35 will still exist as drawn by the time the filing deadline arrives. The Justice Department may kick the map back for any number of fixes. Castro is quoted in the Trib story expressing confidence that CD35 at least will withstand review, and he may well be right. Nothing is set in stone just yet, that’s all I’m saying.
And two, the GOP may want to consider being careful about what they’re wishing for. It’s true that Doggett is a senior Democrat with a solidly progressive record who has generally been a pain in their rear end. He’s also a 64-year-old white guy who’ll be happy to occupy his seat until someone carts him out of there. Castro is a 36-year-old Latino with ambitions. I daresay there’s little chance he’ll still want to be a Congressman when he’s 64. He may have his eye on bigger things by the time he’s 44. By winning what will surely be a high-profile election and getting access to a much deeper and broader donor base, he’d take a big step towards that end. And thus, by finally ridding themselves of their longtime nemesis, the Republicans may enable the Democrats to significantly upgrade their bench. No guarantees, of course, but I’d bet big money on Joaquin Castro running for something statewide before Lloyd Doggett does, and if he does run I’d give him much better odds of winning than Doggett ever would have had. Like I said, be careful what you wish for.