DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than 100 people filled St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin restaurant and bar in Dallas’ Deep Ellum Tuesday evening to meet Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro.
He told Democrats, “I’m running for President because I’m convinced we need new leadership with a new vision for our country in 2020.”
Castro welcomed the warm temperatures in the Lone Star State after campaigning in the crucial four early voting states, including New Hampshire, where he said temperatures were in the 30’s.
“Happy to be back here in Texas,” he said.
The former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary for President Barack Obama says his experience is what helps set him apart from the crowded Democratic field of candidates. “One of the things that distinguishes me in this field is that I’m one of the few that has executive experience. I think people are looking for someone who has a track record of getting things done.”
He pointed to the fact that as Mayor, he fought for and won universal pre-K in San Antonio.
Now, he wants to do the same nationally.
Castro also supports medicare for all, and says if elected, he would recommit to the Paris Climate Accord on his first day in office.
He opposes expanding a barrier or wall along the southern border and says the nation doesn’t have to choose between border security and showing compassion to migrants who come here illegally.
The newest poll shows Castro at one percent, trailing the other Texas Democrat in the race, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, and others with higher name recognition and who are better funded including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s reportedly leaning toward entering the race.
Castro said, “I didn’t grow up a frontrunner. I haven’t been a front runner at any point in my life. They’re a lot of people out there who don’t feel like they’re a frontrunner in life and I’m going to talk to them and I’m confident by the time the voting comes around in February 2020, I’m going to do very well.”
Some Democrats we spoke with say while they liked what they heard, they haven’t made up their minds.
Ian, who didn’t want to say his last name said, “It’s a very long election cycle. I’ve seen enough of them to see they can go all kinds of ways. One debate can make all the difference.”
Aisha Mahama said, “I just want to know everything about everyone because it’s a vote and every vote matters.”
Other Democratic Presidential candidates have already been in Dallas fighting for those votes, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
California Senator Kamala Harris will appear in Grapevine Friday.
CBS 11 asked Castro how he will convince Democrats that he can take on President Donald Trump.
He replied, “First of all, there are a whole bunch of Democrats that can beat Donald Trump. The polling shows that very consistently. For me, I believe I have a track record that I can put up against him. I’ve demonstrated honesty and integrity in public service. I’m trying to bring people together, not tear them apart.”
Before he can do that, Castro must put his track record up against the other Democrats in the race.