San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to Keynote Democratic Convention

President Obama is serious in his efforts to go after Latino voters in crucial swing states.

By Jamilah King Jul 31, 2012

In another sign of how aggressively President Obama’s re-election team is trying to appeal to Latino voters in crucial swing states, the Democratic Convention Committee announced this morning that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will keynote the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4.

Castro, and First Lady Michelle Obama, will speak on the convention’s opening night.

"Having both the First Lady and Mayor Castro speak on the opening night of our convention will bring together two incredible leaders whose life stories both embody the promise of America, that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the convention, told the Washington Post.

More from the Post:

Democrats’ selection of Castro suggests the party is going to be making a full-court press to turn out Latino voters in November. Western swing states with substantial Hispanic populations like Nevada and Colorado could be crucial for the president in the fall.

In 2008, Obama took 67 percent of the Hispanic vote to just 31 percent for Arizona Sen. John McCain. 

Castro is something of a rising star in Democratic politics. He’s young, telegenic and comes from humble roots (he was raised by a single mother and, like Obama, went on to receive a degree from Harvard Law School).

Castro’s family is no stranger to politics. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a state legislator running for Congress (and heavily favored to win) in Texas’s 20th District.

As recently as May, President Obama held a 34-point lead over Mitt Romney among registered Latino voters.

In a keynote speech at the Texas Democratic Party convention earlier this summer, Castro ripped into former Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry’s administration for budget cuts to government and education.

"Every Texan knows that, except (Governor) Rick Perry," Castro said. "His Republican administration cut $4 billion out of our public schools. That’s 12,000 Texas teachers without a job."

That number was contested by, which did that math and estimated that the real number of unemployed teachers was somewhere closer to 11,000.