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Castro-for-VP watch

He’s in “training camp”.

Mayor Julian Castro

His allure as a potential veep gives [HUD Secretary Julian] Castro a platform for the issues he cares about, and he is serious about governing and giving a voice to people struggling to get into the middle class, or to stay there. His top program goal is meeting President Obama’s call of effectively ending veterans’ homelessness, which means pushing housing authorities across the country to give priority to vets in granting public housing and housing vouchers. HUD is also expanding housing vouchers for victims of domestic abuse, a program that Vice President Biden highlighted when he visited HUD for a fair housing event on Tuesday.


The way Washington politics works, HUD is rarely headline news unless there’s a scandal, but Castro sees an opportunity, and he’s savvy enough to use it to present himself and his department in the best light. With candidate Clinton, it will be about confidence and chemistry. They don’t know each other well; they’ve met a couple of times, and they shared a panel on renewing America’s cities last month at the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress.

Castro is a careful politician, prepared and respectful, and if you assume Clinton, if nominated, will look for someone other than a white male as a running mate, he’s got to be near the top of the list.

Is he ready to be president should the need arise, the first qualification of any vice president? “If we’re setting the bar at Sarah Palin, he’s well more than qualified,” says Paul Equale, a longtime lawyer in Washington who is active in Democratic politics. “If we’re setting the bar at Joe Biden, he has a ways to go.”

For the next year or so, Castro will be auditioning, and Democrats will be taking his measure. “I haven’t met him, I don’t know him, I only know what I’ve seen,” says Equale, “and in the modern arena of politics, he’s a natural.” With the Hispanic vote a rising tide for Democrats, he has the potential to turn key electoral states. “A state like Texas could be in play,” says Equale. “There are things that could happen in terms of turnout that are mind-boggling.”

We are familiar with the speculation. I never know how seriously to take any of it, and talk about “putting Texas in play” after the last election feels more tormenting than tantalizing. Still, you can’t deny the potential, and now that Hillary is officially in, it’s only going to intensify from here.. I’ll keep an eye on this until we know one way or the other how it will be.

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