AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – SAN ANTONIO (AP) — U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro said Friday he isn't being vetted as a potential running mate for Democrat Hillary Clinton and continued to maintain that he is unlikely to be offered the job.
But the 41-year-old rising star among Democrats wouldn't say one way or the other whether he would accept if Clinton asked him to join the ticket as her vice presidential candidate.
"I'm not going to get into that. Number one, I've said for a long time, I don't believe that's going to happen," Castro said. "This is a decision that she's going to make and I'm going to be happy to support whatever the ticket is."
The former San Antonio mayor was back in his hometown for the Texas Democratic Convention, which kicked off Friday around the same time that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was across town at a fundraiser. The guests included former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Trump's onetime 2016 rival who is now one of his most vocal backers.
Hundreds of protesters, and some Trump supporters, crowded near the country club where Trump raised money before the billionaire businessman headed to Houston for another fundraiser and an evening rally. His swing through Texas was rebuked by Democrats at the state convention, where "Clinton/Castro 2016" stickers could be found on cars in the Alamodome parking lot.
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So persistent are rumors about Castro's future that Congressman Joaquin Castro, his identical twin brother, was called "Mr. Vice President" in jest by a state senator at a press conference denouncing Trump.
A coalition of progressive groups, some of which have backed Democrat Bernie Sanders, have also taken note of Julian Castro's prospects: In April they launched a campaign in April that criticized his Housing and Urban Development office for selling mortgages to Wall Street in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis. Democrats in Congress and Latino groups rallied to his defense, with some accusing the groups of trying to mar Castro's vice presidential prospects.
"I do believe that in some quarters there were politics involved," Castro said. "I give credit to a couple of the groups for bringing that issue up that they have brought up before. But I think that there's a way for folks to work together in a positive direction."
Many delegates at the Texas convention would like to see Castro run for governor if he doesn't wind up a vice president. But Castro said "it's extremely unlikely that I'm going to run in 2018."
Other rumored vice presidential contenders include Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's name has also surfaced as a potential running mate and met last week at Clinton's Washington home, adding to speculation that she could be under consideration.