Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro's decision to formally explore a presidential bid brings the number of Democrats officially dipping their toes into the 2020 to three.
Castro announced his decision to start an exploratory committee in a YouTube video on Wednesday—check out Alex Seitz-Wald's report for more details on that.
He plans to make a formal announcement about his 2020 plans on Jan. 12, 2019 in his home state of Texas.
The former cabinet official under President Obama has long been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party and one of its more prominent Latinos. During the 2018 cycle, he launched a political action committee to support Democratic candidates, donating to mostly first-time candidates.
He was vetted by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as a possible vice presidential pick, but she ultimately chose Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.
But he has limited executive experience, which includes his stint at HUD and his position as San Antonio mayor, and will likely have to battle it out in a Democratic presidential campaign that could include dozens of candidates.
Castro also took a pass running for statewide office in Texas in 2018 – with the Senate race ultimately catapulting fellow Democrat Beto O’Rourke into the spotlight despite his defeat, and O’Rourke could very well run for president in 2020.
Castro's move is the closest any high-profile Democratic candidate has publicly come to announcing a bid, even as dozens of other Democrats are making moves behind the scenes.
Under federal campaign finance laws, a possible candidate is allowed to "test the waters" for a bid without having to register as an official candidate or begin to file campaign finance disclosures. In that exploratory phase, candidates can raise money, poll, travel or make other moves meant to suss out whether they should run.
But once they start either referring to themselves as a candidate or start raising money in earnest for a full-fledged campaign, they have to file with the Federal Election Commission.
Maryland Democratic Rep. John Delaney and West Virginia's Richard Ojeda, who recently lost a high-profile congressional bid are the only two active Democratic candidates.