Julián Castro's campaign exceeds $800K goal: 'We're not going anywhere'

“Time and time again this campaign has defied expectations," says campaign manager Maya Rupert.

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By Suzanne Gamboa

Talk of doom and many pleas for donations paid off for the Julián Castro campaign, which announced Friday it had reached its $800,000 fundraising goal.

“We’re not going anywhere,” campaign manager Maya Rupert said in a statement.

Just 12 days ago, Castro warned that his campaign needed to raise $800,000 by Oct. 31 or “I’ll have no choice but to end my race for president.”

The campaign said the support that has come since Castro’s urgent plea has led to an October fundraising haul of more than $1 million from 50,000 donors and that Thursday was the best fundraising day of the campaign.

Castro’s campaign had $672,334 cash on hand Sept. 30, the end of this year’s third quarter.

“Time and time again this campaign has defied expectations with the support of an army of dedicated, grassroots supporters,” Rupert said.

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With his latest campaign haul, Castro has met the fundraising requirement for the next Democratic presidential debate, but he still needs to meet the polling requirement to take the stage on Nov. 20 in Georgia.

While Castro continues to be at about 1 percent in the polls, those that include more Latinos have him in double digits. A poll commissioned by Univision after one debate had Castro polling third, with 12 percent, after former Vice President Joe Biden (22 percent) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (20 percent).

Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, has not accepted money from lobbyists, political action committees and executives in the fossil fuel industry.

Unlike other candidates who hold political office, Castro did not have a stocked war chest to help boost his campaign when he launched in January.

That has left him dependent on grassroots contributions, and he had been struggling to see a groundswell of support from small donors like the kind Sanders had in his 2016 campaign.

Castro has run a lean campaign, although he committed early to paying staff $15 an hour. His staff began organizing to form a union as soon as his campaign began, with Castro’s support.

He has spent little on television advertising — in part because of his tight budget — but has been a heavy spender on digital ads. He's also gotten some help from backers such as comedian Cristela Alonzo, who tweeted she was donating the proceeds of one of her Las Vegas shows to his campaign.

After a breakout performance in the first debate in Miami, Castro suffered a blow after he clashed with Biden over health care and questioned Biden’s memory in a later debate.

Castro, who was also mayor of San Antonio, was scheduled to be in Iowa Friday through Monday.

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