COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro said Tuesday that he has qualified for the next presidential debates, reaching a polling threshold for the round taking place in September in Houston.
The former Obama housing chief and former mayor of San Antonio announced that he had earned 2% in a new CNN poll of Democratic voters. That marker makes him the 10th candidate in a crowded field to qualify for the September debate round, which requires donations from at least 130,000 people and 2% support in four polls.
Campaign manager Maya Rupert said in an email that Castro has built momentum based off his performance in the two previous rounds of debates, held in June in Miami and in July in Detroit. That includes a tussle with former Vice President Joe Biden over the Obama administration's deportation of immigrants.
"It looks like one of us has learned the lessons of the past, and one of us hasn't," Castro said, tapping into many liberals' deep frustration on the issue as Biden declined to criticize former President Barack Obama's immigration policies. "What we need are politicians that actually have some guts on this issue."
Candidates have until Aug. 28 to qualify for the third debate round, which is set to take place Sept. 12 and 13. Others who have met both the donor and polling thresholds include Biden, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, former technology executive Andrew Yang and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Several senators have also qualified, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Castro launched his 2020 presidential campaign in January.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP