SAN ANTONIO – Plaza Guadalupe, where Pope John Paul came to the heart of the San Antonio’s West Side in 1987 and where then-candidate Barack Obama campaigned in 2008, is where Julian Castro is expected to make a historic announcement.
Several people nearby said they anticipate that the former San Antonio mayor will be making a historic presidential bid for the 2020 election.
Delfino Pruitt said he wants to be there Jan. 12 when Castro returns to his West Side roots to announce his decision.
“Definitely, definitely,” Pruitt said.
For the owner of a small restaurant down the street, it’s personal.
“I was born and raised on the West Side," Pruitt said.
He said despite the area's problems, he made choices that changed his life for the better.
“We don’t come from the best conditions, but we can determine where we go,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt had tears in his eyes as he spoke with pride about the significance of Castro possibly running for the nation’s highest office.
“With him doing what he’s doing, it goes to show where, how far we have come,” Pruitt said. “It’s a benchmark.”
For Pruitt, a defining moment was opening Mr. P’s Neighborhood Eatery a year and a half ago.
Pruitt said he believes Castro has something the other candidates don’t.
“Being from the neighborhood and seeing the pain and struggle for people," Castro knows "what immigrants can achieve and (sees) what they can become," Pruitt said.
At a nearby bus stop, Humberto De La Vega said Castro is "a good man, and I think he’ll make it.”
Julia Ybarra, who was waiting for a bus, said, “It’s about time. We need someone to speak up for not only for the Hispanic population in the United States but for all immigrants.”
If Castro runs, it could be an ultra-marathon, said Henry Flores, professor emeritus of political science and international relations at St. Mary’s University.
“It goes beyond 26 miles. Like a 50-miler, a hundred-miler, because they have to run for 22 months," Flores said.
Castro has formed an exploratory committee, and a local fundraiser is planned for this weekend.
Flores said as it is now, more than 20 Democrats are vying for the party’s presidential nomination.
“For a political scientist, this is gold, absolute gold,” Flores said.
Watch Castro's video below: