Joaquin reportedly in for Senate

This would be exciting.

Rep. Joaquin Castro

Joaquin Castro, the Democratic congressman from San Antonio, “is all but certain” to enter next year’s race for U.S. Senate and take on incumbent Republican John Cornyn, a source familiar with Castro’s thinking said Thursday.

The move would profoundly change the dynamics of the 2020 campaign and put Texas squarely on center stage, with two Texans already in the Democratic primary race and Joaquin taking on a longtime Republican senator who many see as vulnerable, especially during a presidential election year.

“We’ll be making an announcement in the very near future,” said Matthew Jones, Castro’s campaign adviser.

“This instantly makes the race very competitive,” Bill Miller, an Austin lobbyist and longtime political observer, said of Joaquin’s potential entry into the race. Running in tandem with his brother, who announced his candidacy for president on January 12 in San Antonio, would only benefit both candidates, Miller said, and “doubles up on all the positives.” When asked if Cornyn was vulnerable, Miller said, “Every Republican senator up for election next year is vulnerable.”

“This is quite an important development,” said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. “Beto proved Texas can be competitive, and this means that Cornyn is really going to have to work hard to raise money and work hard to earn votes—and Republicans in Texas are not used to doing that.”


The source said a timeline has not been established for Joaquin to formalize any announcement, but one Democrat who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the congressman said that Joaquin has been reaching out and telling several key Democratic leaders in Texas that he has been leaning toward running. Castro’s decision may have further solidified on Thursday after O’Rourke announced he was running for president. There had been speculation that O’Rourke may have taken on Cornyn following his 2.5 percentage point defeat to Republican Ted Cruz last year.

See here for the background. If this turns out to be the case, then I would presume that all of the other potential Cornyn opponents will turn their attention elsewhere. That would suggest MJ Hegar and Joe Kopser take another shot at the Congressional races they ran in 2018, and Wendy Davis keep doing what she’s doing now, as an advocate and supporter of other candidates. All of which is fine by me – Joaquin Castro has always been my top non-Beto choice to run against Cornyn, I just didn’t think he’d give up his Congressional seat to do it. Expect a big scramble for that seat when and if this happens as well, by the way. We’ll save that for another day. Also, as the story notes, this likely forecloses the Senate fallback option for Beto – it’s not that he couldn’t try for Senate again if he gets no traction in the Presidential primary, it’s that it would be much more complicated and fraught for him to do so. We should know more soon enough. The Trib has more.

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8 Responses to Joaquin reportedly in for Senate

  1. Flypusher says:

    Beto made his choice and there’s no going back. I wouldn’t vote for him in a Senate primary under the scenario that he declared at the end of this year because the Presidential poll #s were bad.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    It will be interesting. Cornyn is a perfect example of why people don’t vote republican. At least we see Cruz places. Cornyn is elitist 100%

  3. Bill Daniels says:


    If you support the guy’s positions, then you really shouldn’t hold it against him that he is pragmatic enough to change races, if necessary, in order to win. I obviously don’t support Beto, but he’s doing your side no good if he tilts at windmills. What’s that saying? Win, baby, win?

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    I have never voted for Cornyn, always voted Libertarian instead, and will certainly vote for any primary challenger he has, but if he, through incumbent privilege, wins the primary I am certainly going to vote for him in the general. I won’t be proud of it, but there it is.


    I can understand your primary vote, but surely you would vote for him in whatever general election he managed to make it to, right?

  5. Mainstream says:

    I disagree, Paul, with your assessment of Senator Cornyn. He is a workhorse, instead of a showhorse, and the recent passage of criminal justice reform reflects that. He has always been available in my experience to discuss issues, come speak to local groups, and the like.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:


    It will be interesting to watch.

  7. Manny says:

    That is interesting Mainstream, because I have never been able to get Cornyn to respond to questions. Cruz never did, except one and that was after he got an opponent in 2018. Took him over 6 months to respond.

    The only Republican Senator that ever responded was Phil Gramm.

  8. Flypusher says:

    Indeed I would vote for Beto in the general despite not picking him in the primary, especially since I have not yet determined which primary I’ll be voting in next year.

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