DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro will take part in Wednesday evening’s Democratic presidential debate.
He’ll square off with nine other candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who remains in the lead in national polls, and another top tier candidate, California Senator Kamala Harris.
Castro received a bump in fundraising and in popularity following his first debate in Miami when he criticized fellow Texan and former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s policy on illegal immigration.
In Wednesday night’s debate, Castro may target one of Biden’s past or current policies or positions in an effort to gain traction and make headlines.
Nancy Bocskor, Director of the Center for Women In Politics and Public Policy at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, says Castro should also find an opportunity to discuss affordable housing, especially because of his experience as HUD Secretary for President Barack Obama. “What can he bring to the table of things he’s done that addresses people’s needs and right now, that was his sweet sot and I don’t see him talking about this issue.”
Bocskor says she expects other candidates to target Biden. “If you’re going to try to knock off the king of the polls right now, he did not suffer, suffered in a minor way after the last debate, but of course picked up speed again. You’re going to have to kill the king and I don’t know right now, that there’s any issue that is going to knock Biden out of the race.”
Some analysts panned Biden’s performance during the first debate, and Biden has said he was unprepared to respond to the attacks on his prior policies.
Bocskor says, “Even though he wasn’t prepared the last time, he still is resilient enough because he’s Joe Biden, because he’s like your lovable Uncle. Biden I think has a trust factor that the rest of them are still trying to create.”
As for Castro, he has met one of two thresholds to take part in the September debate in Houston.
If he does well Wednesday night, his performance could help him qualify for the next debate.