We'll find out in a few hours just how premature it is to be considering Hillary Clinton's VP but one heavily-speculated about candidate's brother is headlining a campaign kick-off for two northwest Arkansas legislative candidates a few days after the Arkansas primary.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas announced on Monday that U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX), the twin brother of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, is launching the state House campaigns of Irvin Camacho and Grimsley Graham. Worth noting the March 3 event is after the state's primary (March 1).
Democrats see great potential in the Castro brothers as charismatic, Hispanic progressives making waves in the rapidly transforming conservative state of Texas. Joaquin has certainly found acclaim of his own from Democrats but it's his brother Julian that has attracted more high profile attention.
POLITICO and a host of national media outlets began floating Julian Castro as someone at the top of the short list for Hillary Clinton's vice presidential pick. It carried a story January 22 titled "Ready For Julian?"
He’s plotted his rise carefully, studying and strategizing with a clear goal in sight. But if Clinton picks him to be her running mate, it’ll be more about perfectly fitting his party’s moment and the nearly non-existent Democratic bench than about his 18 months as a HUD secretary who hasn’t left a deep mark at his agency, the White House or the housing world.
Castro’s got a made-for-campaign commercials biography, and an undeniable savvy that’s helped him spin a job as a part-time mayor of San Antonio into an unusually successful 2012 Democratic convention keynote and then the answer to the second term Obama White House’s own search for more diversity in the Cabinet, without having to wait until he could win statewide in Texas.
Camacho is running for an open seat for House Disctrict 89, including Springdale, vacated by Republican Micah Neal who is running for county judge. The DPA release calls Camacho a community leader and activist for "voters, immigrants, students, and local business development."
He'll face either Charles Gaines or Jeff Williams who are seeking the GOP nomination March 1. This race appears to be the most diverse offering of candidates in 2016 (possibly in Arkansas history?) with the potential for a Latino (Camacho) and an African-American (Gaines) match-up in November.
A few miles up I-49 Graham, a retired public school teacher and Vietnam veteran, will make his second state House bid in as many years and face the winner of a Republican primary contest. Incumbent Rebecca Petty, a voice for tougher sentencing in the legislature, faces former state representative and failed lieutenant governor candidate Debra Hobbs.
The release from DPA:
Democratic Party of Arkansas Announces Details of Organizing Rally for Irvin Camacho and Grimsley Graham Featuring Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro
(SPRINGDALE) The Democratic Party of Arkansas is proud to announce that Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) will headline a campaign kickoff rally for Irvin Camacho and Grimsley Graham, candidates for State Representative in Northwest Arkansas. This event will be held at the Rodeo of the Ozarks Community Building in Springdale at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2016. The event is free and open to the public. Voter registration volunteers will be on hand.
Background: Congressman Joaquin Castro
Joaquin Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas. A second generation Mexican American, Joaquin has worked hard to seize the opportunities created by the sacrifices of his grandmother, Victoria, who came to Texas as a young orphan, and often worked two and three jobs at a time to be able to give her daughter (Joaquin’s mother, Rosie) and her grandchildren a better chance in life.
Joaquin Castro graduated with honors from Stanford University, attended Harvard Law School, and served five terms in the Texas legislature where he was at the forefront in proposing forward-thinking legislative reforms in the areas of mental health, teen pregnancy, and juvenile justice. In 2012, Joaquin was elected to serve in the U.S House of Representatives as representative of Texas Congressional District 20, which is the main district for San Antonio and Bexar County where he serves on the House Armed Services Committee, as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He has also been named Chief Deputy Whip for House Democrats, charged with assisting in rallying members around important legislation.
Joaquin is married to Anna Flores, and they have one daughter, Andrea Elena Castro. Joaquin’s identical twin brother, Julián Castro, served three terms as Mayor of San Antonio until President Barack Obama appointed him as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 2014.
Joaquin’s respect for public service developed at a young age and was deeply influenced by his parents’ involvement in political movements and civic causes. His father, a retired teacher, and his mother, a renowned community activist, instilled in him a deep appreciation for the democratic process and the importance of community service.
Irvin Camacho, a well-known community activist and leader, is running for House District 89, which includes downtown Springdale. From an early age, Irvin developed a passion for his community. By advocating for the rights of voters, immigrants, students, and local business development, Irvin has made a positive impact in his community. As a policy maker, Irvin wants to make sure the voices of his community are heard at the State Capitol.
Grimsley Graham, a retired Rogers High School teacher, is running for House District 94, which covers most of Northern and downtown Rogers. Grimsley is a consensus builder who will serve an independent voice in Little Rock. Grimsley served his country in Vietnam as a 1st Lieutenant in the United State Marine Corps. Grimsley serves as an elder and education director at the First Presbyterian Church in Rogers. A retired educator, Grimsley has years of experience working to make Benton County a better place to live, and learn.