Julián Castro drops out of 2020 Democratic primary

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The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development never really gained traction in the Democratic field.

Julián Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, announced on Thursday he's ending his bid for president.

"It's with profound gratitude to all of our supporters that I suspend my campaign for president today," Castro said in a tweet. "I'm so proud of everything we've accomplished together. I'm going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts — I hope you'll join me in that fight."

Although Castro often was the first to take positions on issues important to the Democratic electorate — such as immigration reform and social justice — he never really gained traction in the crowded Democratic primary field.

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As of Thursday when he dropped out, Castro stood at just 1.1% in FiveThirtyEight's polling average of the Democratic primary. That average was at the bottom of the pack, and far short of the average needed to earn a spot in the primary debates.

Castro's exit from the race leaves the Democratic field with 14 candidates as the primary enters the election year.

With a month to go until the Feb. 3 caucuses in Iowa  — the first state where voters will pick their preference for the Democratic nominee — former Vice President Joe Biden remains the front-runner in the field, according to an average of public polling from FiveThirtyEight. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are virtually tied for second, with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in third.

The candidates are vying to take on Donald Trump, who is all but assured to be the GOP nominee, after a number of state Republican parties canceled their primary contests in order to give Trump a free path to the nomination.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.