Last year, President Obama reportedly reached out to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, gauging his interest in becoming the Secretary of Transportation. Castro declined and the post went to Anthony Foxx, the former Charlotte mayor.
But the White House’s interest in Castro did not fade, and the Democratic mayor will reportedly accept the president’s second invitation to join his cabinet.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is set to be nominated for secretary of housing and urban development (HUD), NBC News confirmed Saturday, citing government sources.The new post would offer a national profile to Castro, a rising Democratic star who has been mentioned as a potential 2016 vice presidential pick.
As cabinet shake-ups go, this one’s pretty interesting. There’s a bit of a domino effect, with one opening leading to another and then another, which could have long-term electoral consequences.
With Kathleen Sebelius stepping down as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell will be confirmed as Sebelius’ successor, which means she’ll leave her role as the chair of the Office of Management and Budget.
Shaun Donovan, the current HUD chief, will be nominated to replace Burwell at OMB. (This is actually a big promotion – OMB isn’t widely known to the public, but it’s a cabinet-level post with great power and influence.)
And when Donovan becomes the president’s new budget chief, it will create a vacancy at HUD, which Castro will reportedly fill.
As for the broader implications, the question is what kind of spring board this could be for Castro’s future.
In recent years, the San Antonio mayor has been at the center of considerable Democratic chatter – you may recall his keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention – to the point that it’s hard to see his name in the national media without coming across the phrase “rising star.”
And it’s easy to see why – Castro, who’s twin brother is a popular congressman, a young, successful, Latino mayor with a compelling personal background.
But there also seems to be a ceiling on his ambitions. Texas remains, well, Texas. Castro’s effectiveness in San Antonio notwithstanding, it remains difficult to imagine a pro-choice Democrat who supports same-sex marriage and affirmative action getting elected to statewide office in the Lone Star State.
If you’re in Castro’s shoes, how do you advance your national ambitions anyway? In this case, you join the president’s cabinet. Indeed, you become the HUD chief – a post that requires a cabinet secretary to travel extensively, forming relationships with governors, mayors, and local activists.
Keep an eye on this one.