Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro on Monday made the case for shifting early-voting focus from Iowa and New Hampshire to other states. According to Castro, Iowa and New Hampshire aren't as diverse as the rest of the nation – or the Democratic Party – therefore, they shouldn't be the first ones to caucus and hold a primary, the Des Moines Register reported.
“Iowa and New Hampshire are wonderful states with wonderful people," he said at an event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "But they’re also not reflective of the diversity of our country, and certainly not reflective of the diversity of the Democratic Party.”
The former HUD Secretary didn't say which states he would want to see as the first caucus and primary holders if Iowa and New Hampshire were replaced.
"The Iowa caucus started here — it began as the first caucus in 1972," he said. "The country has changed a lot in 50 years."
His remarks sparked controversy within the Democratic Party because, earlier this year, Castro signed a pledge to support Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Here is the signed pledge Castro’s campaign sent to the @iowademocrats where Secretary Castro pledged “to support Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus status on the presidential nominating calendar.” https://t.co/SotTRCJUJe pic.twitter.com/lHTvDIZ9FB— Dan Merica (@merica) November 11, 2019
His press secretary, however, argued that although Castro supported the Iowa caucuses for the 2020 election, he can still favor making changes at a later date.
Sec. @juliancastro pledged to support Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status in 2020 and is participating in that process.— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) November 11, 2019
But he won't be held hostage to tactics that indefinitely prevent reform to an antiquated system that doesn’t reflect our nation or our party’s diversity. https://t.co/ai6Ihblk4i
Castro has continually made diversity a primary focus of his throughout his entire campaign. One of his concerns has been whether or not the Democratic Party can appeal to Hispanic and African American voters.
"The Democratic Party in 2020 cannot afford to nominate somebody that can't appeal to the African American community and the Latino community," Castro told reporters earlier this month. "If we do, we're playing right into President Donald Trump's hands."