Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro stated on Sunday that both Iowa and New Hampshire should give up their famed status as the first states in the nation to hold a caucus and a primary due to their lack of diverse constituents.
“I actually do believe that we need to change the order of the states because I don’t believe that we’re the same country we were in 1972 — that is when Iowa first held its caucus first,” Castro said while speaking to NBC News. “And by the time we have the next presidential election in 2024, it will have been more than 50 years since 1972. Our country has changed a lot in those 50 years. The Democratic Party has changed a lot.”
“What I really appreciate about Iowans and the folks in New Hampshire is that they take this process very seriously. They vet the candidates, they show up at town halls, they give people a good hearing,” he continued. “At the same time, demographically, it’s not reflective of the United States as a whole, certainly not reflective of the Democratic Party, and I believe that other states should have their chance.”
“So, yes, of course we need to find other states,” Castro added. “That doesn’t mean that Iowa and New Hampshire still can’t play an important role, but I don’t believe that forever we should be married to Iowa and New Hampshire going first, and that’s just the truth of the way that I see it.”
Castro’s remarks come after his Democratic presidential challenger Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was asked the same question only days earlier while attending an Environmental Justice forum in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Warren notably dodged the question, rather contending that she is just “a player in the game.”
While the former Obama official has been polling below 1% on average among Democratic primary voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Warren is leading the crowded primary field in both states. As of publication, the Massachusetts lawmaker sits at more than 21% support and 19% support on average in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively.
Last week Castro’s campaign revealed that it had fired its entire staff in both New Hampshire and South Carolina as it seeks to focus on opportunities in Iowa and Nevada. The news came after the campaign gave supporters an ultimatum to raise $0.8 million in donations by the end of October or else risk the end of his White House bid.
Castro ultimately surpassed the goal and generated nearly $1 million by the deadline. The campaign said the fundraising haul will provide the presidential hopeful with the necessary resources to “sustain the campaign and make a push for the November and December Democratic debates.”
Thus far, only ten candidates in the presidential primary field have qualified for the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) next debate — Castro has not yet met the required threshold.
“I can imagine he’s frustrated,” said New Hampshire Democratic Chair Ray Buckley. “But blaming his campaign’s challenges on the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire is a bit much.”