Julian Castro takes the stage during the J Street National Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Julián Castro Had to Live Tweet Last Night’s Debate & It Was More Engaging Than Almost Anything That Happened on the Stage

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Last night was the fifth Democratic primary debate, with ten candidates taking the stage in Atlanta. This debate had a narrower set of requirements than previous ones. To take part, a candidate had to get at least 3% support in four national or early voting state polls and also have at least 165,000 individual donors, including 600 donors in 20 different states.

Julián Castro was one of the candidates who didn’t make that cut, but he’s not out of the race. He also still managed to engage with the debate by live-tweeting along with it and his was some of the most interesting commentary of what ended up being a really tame night. It also meant that he had the opportunity to engage with every question–something that no other candidate on the crowded stage got to do.

He got to comment on impeachment:

The climate crisis:

Housing (which is his area of expertise):

Marijuana legalization:

Reproductive Rights:

Those were just a few of his tweets throughout the night but they made his absence on the stage even more glaring. As he himself said, he wasn’t there in person, but he has had a huge hand in shaping the debate.

He has been tenacious in bringing attention to certain issues and keeping it there during previous debates and town hall events–issues many of the other candidates have shown little interest in, from housing to climate issues to trans rights.

Not only did Castro end up trending on Twitter despite not being present at the actual event, but it ended up being his biggest fundraising day of the month, raising more donations than his campaign had in either of the last two debates, according to his press secretary.

So while he did an amazing job off the debate stage, hopefully, he’ll be back on it next month.

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.