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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Castro throws his support behind Warren, set to campaign this week

Senator Elizabeth Warren chatted with Julian Castro and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during a June debate. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press/File 2019)AP/Associated Press

Julián Castro, the former US housing secretary whose progressive presidential candidacy did not make significant inroads with Democratic voters but earned plaudits from the party’s left wing, has endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, offering a possible lift for her candidacy less than one month before the Iowa caucuses.

Castro revealed his endorsement Monday morning, just days after he ended his own bid for the White House. In a statement, Castro cast Warren as the logical extension of his campaign’s social-justice-driven message, which seeks to correct inequities through targeted policy proposals. He will campaign with Warren this week, joining her Tuesday night at a rally at Kings Theatre in New York City.

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The endorsement formalizes a partnership that could help Warren reignite excitement at a critical moment.

Warren has fallen from her polling peak in early October, when she was hailed as the front-runner and standard-bearer for the party’s progressive wing. National polls now show Warren firmly in third, behind former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has been aided by grass-roots progressive groups and by some high-profile endorsements of his own, including from popular House Democrats like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota.

It is unclear whether Castro’s name carries similar political weight. His presidential candidacy struggled to break through in a significant way, but he led the field on a number of progressive issues, including reparations, border decriminalization, and housing inequality.

Warren thanked Castro for his support Monday, calling him “a powerful voice for bold, progressive change.”

New York Times

A Kennedy to run against Van Drew in New Jersey

A member of the Kennedy family, a former public school teacher, said Monday she will run as a Democrat against party-switching Republican US Representative Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey.

Amy Kennedy, who is married to former Democratic US representative Patrick Kennedy, revealed her candidacy for the 2nd District House seat in an online video.

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Van Drew won election in 2018 as a Democrat but said last month he was becoming a Republican when he said he opposed impeaching President Trump. Trump praised Van Drew and hosted him at the White House, where the congressman pledged his support.

Kennedy, a yearslong resident of Brigantine, north of Atlantic City, highlighted the economy and environmental issues in the minutelong video announcing her run.

She also criticized the president and Van Drew for contributing to a decline in morality in public discourse.

A message seeking a response was left with Van Drew.

Van Drew’s party switch has opened up a competitive Democratic primary, with Kennedy facing several challengers.

Among the competitors are Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison, a longtime southern New Jersey resident who has garnered support from Democratic lawmakers already.

Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett has also said she is running. Former FBI agent Robert Turkavage is also in the race.

Associated Press

Pompeo tells McConnell he won’t seek Senate seat

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday told Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, that he does not plan to run for Senate in 2020, dashing Republicans’ hopes of securing a dominant candidate for the open seat in his home state of Kansas, according to four people briefed on the meeting.

Pompeo, a former congressman from the Wichita area, has quietly explored a campaign for months. But in the aftermath of the military operation last week that killed General Qassem Soleimani of Iran, Pompeo has told senior party officials that he is ruling out becoming a candidate, according to several people who have spoken with him.

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Pompeo still has time to change his mind. The filing deadline for the primary is not until June. However, administration officials who have spoken with him in recent days said he seemed adamant about not entering the race.

Without Pompeo in the race, Republicans face an unsettled primary that includes one candidate, Kris Kobach, whom party leaders fear could imperil their hold on a crucial open Senate seat. Kobach is popular with hard-right voters but widely disliked among moderates and independent voters.

New York Times