Joaquin Castro confirms he will not challenge John Cornyn

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) will not challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in 2020, according to an interview he did with Hearst Newspapers.

“Right now, I’m going to focus on my work in the House of Representatives. I’ve been doing what I feel is important and meaningful work here,” Castro told Hearst Newspapers, in an interview that was carried by the Houston Chronicle. “If and when I run for another office, it is likely to be something that takes me back home to Texas.”

Castro becomes the latest high-profile Democrat to decline to run for the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-seat majority.

Democrats had expected to mount a big push to retake the Senate next year, given that Republicans are defending 22 seats, while Democrats have 12 seats on the table.

But earlier this week, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams confirmed she would not challenge Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

Other Democrats have decided to run for president in 2020 instead, including former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper who opted not to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Castro's own twin brother, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

Joaquin Castro’s decision will mean a clearer path to the Democratic nomination for MJ Hegar, an Air Force veteran who narrowly lost a House race to Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) in 2018, and who announced her candidate for Senate in Texas last week.

Castro said he was impressed with Hegar, telling the publication that regardless of who was nominated, "I’ll do everything I can to help our Democratic nominee win.”