Presidential candidate Julián Castro said on Monday that he will have to drop out of the Democratic primary if his campaign doesn't raise $800,000 in the next 10 days.
In an email to supporters, Castro said he will not have the resources to continue campaigning if he can't raise the funds by the end of October.
"The truth is, for our campaign, these debates have offered our only guaranteed opportunity to share my vision with the American people. If I can’t make the next debate stage, we cannot sustain a campaign that can make it to Iowa in February," Castro said in the email. "My presidential campaign is in dire need of financial resources to keep going."
The campaign needs the funds to be able to continue operating and to have a shot at securing a spot at the November Democratic debate.
Castro’s campaign has very little cash on hand compared to most of his competition, according to the most recent FEC filings. His campaign, which raised $3,495,406 and spent $3,960,970.81 last quarter, had $672,333 on hand as of the end of September.
The highest-polling candidates have millions of dollars on hand, and even low-polling candidates like Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. Steve Bullock who have not qualified for recent debates have more on hand than Castro. Castro is the second Democratic candidate to make such a plea this year. At the end of September, Sen. Cory Booker said he would drop out if his campaign was not able to raise $1.7 million in 10 days — a higher goal than Castro’s and one the campaign ultimately hit.
"Our campaign is facing its biggest challenge yet. Secretary Castro has run a historic campaign that has changed the nature of the 2020 election and pushed the Democratic party on a number of big ideas," Castro campaign manager Maya Rupert said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we do not see a path to victory that doesn't include making the November debate stage — and without a significant uptick in our fundraising, we cannot make that debate."
Castro has the 165,000 donors required to qualify for the next debate but has not been polling well enough to cross the threshold — the DNC requires that campaigns receive 3% or more support in at least four polls. Castro's campaign said they need additional funds for operations in battleground states to try to be competitive in those polls.
"All the progress we’ve made is in serious jeopardy. I started this campaign on a shoestring budget in the neighborhood I grew up in. I didn’t grow up a frontrunner. I didn’t have personal wealth to pump into this race. And we’ve built this campaign without a cent from super PACS or billionaires," Castro wrote in the email.
Castro, who served as federal housing secretary under the Obama administration, made an impression during the first debate in June when he attacked fellow Texan and former congressman Beto O'Rourke over immigration. Following that debate, Castro saw an immediate uptick in donations and Twitter followers — but has continued to come in at 1% in most polls. Castro has been the first to introduce a raft of progressive policy plans including on immigration and criminal justice reform.