If you put former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro on your bingo card as a potential Democratic candidate for Texas governor, you may have just lost.
Castro — mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017, and a 2020 presidential contender — was introduced July 12 as a new political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. The networks made the announcement on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my perspective and hopes for the future at such a pivotal moment for our nation and for my home state of Texas,” Castro tweeted.
After dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary in January 2020, Castro has appeared regularly as a commentator on cable TV programs, including several on MSNBC.
“For so long, the voices of Texas, particularly Latinos, have been left out of the national conversation, and I hope that’s starting to change,” Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, a Democratic congressman representing San Antonio, tweeted about his brother’s new job.
It’s unclear whether the gig with NBC News and MSNBC rules out Julián Castro seeking the Texas governorship in 2022. If Castro were to enter the Democratic primary and win, he’d likely face Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican incumbent, in the general election.
While many Democrats in Texas have floated Castro as a prospective candidate for governor, the former mayor indicated in January that it was “very unlikely” he’d pursue elected office in 2022.
“I feel like I just went through the marathon of 2020 and then supported candidates and so, right now, I don’t have a target in mind in terms of when I’m going to run again,” Castro said.
Castro’s new job will put even more focus on whether former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, will throw his hat in the gubernatorial ring. O’Rourke exited the Democratic presidential race in November 2019. A year earlier, he nearly bested U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, in their contest for one of Texas’ two U.S. Senate seats.
A wild card in next year’s gubernatorial election is Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey, who lives in Austin. McConaughey is entertaining a run for governor, but it’s not known whether he’d run as a Republican, Democrat, or independent. The actor has yet to formalize his political plans.