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Julián Castro to launch new PAC

Jan. 3, 2018 at midnight

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro plans to launch a political action committee Tuesday that aims to support Democratic Party efforts to take control of the U.S. House and groom younger candidates.

Castro's PAC, Opportunity First, will have three aims: gaining Democratic control of the House, making headway in state legislatures ahead of the 2021 round of redistricting and electing younger leaders to local office.

To do this, the PAC will have an arm that is more traditional in focus, boosting the campaigns of candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. The other side will support local, nonfederal candidates.

Castro told The Texas Tribune in a Monday interview that his focus will be on "young and progressive" talent, and his aim is to play in county commissioner, mayoral and other local races to cultivate the Democratic bench.

Another goal is to put candidates in state legislative offices in states where Democrats could make gains in redistricting next decade.

The move marks an expansion into national politics for the former San Antonio mayor. Contenders eyeing presidential runs frequently engage in such activity during midterm campaigns. Supporting candidates around the country is a key way any future presidential candidate builds relationships ahead of a national nomination fight.

"The thrust of Opportunity First will be to support people who are running in the 2018 cycle. I'm happy to do it," Castro said when asked if this is laying the groundwork for a presidential run.

"One of the advantages of not running [this cycle] is getting to spend time supporting people who are running, especially in Texas, but also in other states."

Opportunity First paperwork was filed earlier in 2017. Tuesday marks its public launch and a shift toward more robust fundraising.



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