LAS VEGAS — While many of the 2020 Democratic contenders are camped out in Iowa or New Hampshire, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro is in Nevada. It’s his seventh visit to the Silver State since announcing his presidential exploratory committee.
“I see this state as just crucial to victory,” said Castro. “Out of the first four early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — I've always received the best response here in Nevada.”
Castro contends he has a unique path to victory: an early win or strong showing in Nevada, followed by the same in California and Texas, both Super Tuesday states. It’s a path that plays on Castro’s supposed strengths.
The former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, argues that those Western and Southwestern states share a similar sensibility. Plus, as the only Latino vying for the White House, Castro believes he can mobilize the large Latino electorates in those states and then do the same in the general election.
“I have no doubt that in 2020 the Latino turnout rate is going to go up because people are not just thinking about Donald Trump as a theoretical anymore,” Castro said. “They know how bad he's been as president.”
On Friday, Castro announced he’s reached the Democratic National Committee’s debate threshold of 65,000 individual donors, along with the other criteria. So his fundraising may have accelerated since his first-quarter numbers (he only raised $1.1 million), but the latest polls still show him in the single digits.
Castro seems unfazed by those early indicators. “What can I do except go and work hard and do what a lot of families out there do every day, which is to scrap and to continue to work,” Castro said.
VICE News followed Castro during two days of campaigning in Nevada.
This segment originally aired May 3, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.