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Julián Castro drops out of presidential race

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Julián Castro, the former Mayor of San Antonio and the former Director of House and Urban Development, announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination on Jan. 12, 2019. Castro made the announcement in Guadalupe Plaza in San Antonio. Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

Julián Castro has ended his bid for the Democratic nomination for president.

"It’s with profound gratitude to all of our supporters that I suspend my campaign for president today," he said on Twitter early Thursday. "I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together. I’m going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts—I hope you’ll join me in that fight."

The former San Antonio mayor and U.S secretary of housing and urban development ran a spirited campaign that never quite earned the traction or built the fundraising operation necessary to thrust him into the top tier of the sprawling Democratic field. He threw his hat into the ring early, months before some of his fiercest competitors launched their respective bids. But he consistently raised millions of dollars less than his rivals and polled in low single digits.

Castro initially built his campaign around immigration policy. He was the only Latino in the race and the first Democratic candidate to unveil a comprehensive immigration plan, a progressive policy that called for the repeal of a law that criminalized unauthorized border crossings. Axing that part of the federal immigration code later became a popular idea among other Democratic candidates in the race — with Castro publicly pushing rivals to join him in supporting its repeal.

Castro's exit comes after former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke dropped out of the race in early November. Both Castro and O'Rourke touted potential support in Texas, a state with a large number of delegates in the primary and that Democrats hope will be competitive in November. But now no Texans will be on the ballot when the state votes on Super Tuesday, March 3.

While Castro's bid was unsuccessful, Castro raised his national stature by way of his appearances in the nationally televised Democratic presidential debates. Castro's brightest moment came in June, during the first presidential debate when he viscerally engaged with his O'Rourke in Miami.

This developing story will be updated.