SAN ANTONIO (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – Former San Antonio Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro launched a new political action committee on Thursday aimed at supporting progressive down-ballot candidates who he believes are “prioritizing people, rather than special interests.”

Castro plans to use the group — called “People First Future” — to “identify and support candidates up and down the ballot,” according to a press release from the newly formed organization.

The group also made their first endorsement on Thursday, backing 12 candidates running for Congress, including seven running in Castro’s native Texas and others in races Democrats hope to be competitive in come November.

“It’s never been more important to elect leaders in our statehouses, governor’s offices, school boards, and halls of Congress who will stand up for the most vulnerable Americans,” said Castro said in a statement. “While hardworking families struggle to pay rent, get good health care, or send their kids to decent schools, well-connected and deep-pocketed special interests get their way.”

The group plans to not only provide financial support to candidates to help beef up the bench of progressive Democrats, but also mobilize progressives across the country to support those candidates.

Castro’s list of endorsements includes his brother, Joaquin Castro, who is running for reelection in Texas’s 20th Congressional District, and Gina Ortiz Jones, who is running for the second straight cycle in Texas’s 23rd Congressional District. Castro’s Texas endorsements also include Wendy Davis in Texas’s 21st Congressional District; Candace Valenzuela in Texas’s 24th Congressional District; Julie Oliver in Texas’s 25th Congressional District; Sima Ladjevardian in Texas’s 2nd Congressional District; and Sri Preston Kulkarni in Texas’s 22nd Congressional District.

The former presidential candidate has also endorsed Lucy McBath, a congresswoman who first won Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2018; J.D. Scholten, an Iowa Democrat challenging controversial Rep. Steve King in the state’s 4th Congressional District for the second straight cycle and Mondaire Jones, a Democrat running in New York’s 17th Congressional District. Castro has also endorsed Marie Newman, the Illinois Democrat who unseated an incumbent in the state’s congressional district earlier this year, and Lauren Underwood, another Illinois Democrat who won her suburban Chicago seat for the first time in 2018.

Castro will further explain his plans for the political action committee on Thursday afternoon during an Instagram Live conversation with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another former presidential candidate.

The former cabinet secretary has begun to layout his post-campaign plans in recent weeks and just announced he was joining Voto Latino, a large political organization focused on registering and mobilizing Latino voters, as an adviser with the goal of registering one million Latino voters before November’s general election.

Castro ran for president for nearly a year, announcing his bid in January 2019 and dropping out in January 2020 after failing to garner needed support in either early states or nationally. The former cabinet secretary, though, did win goodwill from progressive operatives and voters during the campaign.

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