Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 19, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Important Election Dates:

Early Voting for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 19 – May 23

Election Day for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 27

Election Day for Lubbock City Council District 3 Runoff: June 14

Julian Castro, Facebook
Julian Castro, Facebook

The Rise of Julian Castro

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has been a rising star in the Democratic party since his 2012 Keynote Speech at the Democratic National Convention. It was clear to me at that point that the Democrats were grooming Castro for a possible 2016 VP nod as a Clinton/Castro ticket could be tough to beat. The only problem with Castro was that being Mayor of San Antonio was his only experience. That will all change soon as POLITICO reported on Saturday that Castro has been tapped for a cabinet position in the Obama White House.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a rising star in Democratic national politics, is expected to be nominated to the post of secretary of housing and urban development, according to a source familiar with the plan.

Current HUD secretary Shaun Donovan would replace Sylvia Mathews Burwell as head of the Office of Management and Budget, according to the source.

The New York Times first reported Castro and Donovan would be offered the positions, citing Democrats informed of the plans.

A White House official said they had “no personnel announcements at this time.”

Castro’s hometown newspaper earlier Saturday broke the news that the potential vice presidential contender in 2016 was poised to accept a position in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, but did not say which one.

Castro “has signaled his willingness to begin a swift process of confirmation to the post,” including a vetting by the FBI that has already begun, the Express-News reported Saturday, citing knowledgeable sources.

Columnist Brian Chasnoff wrote that this is the second time in as many years that Castro, who was elected mayor five years ago, has been approached by the White House about a cabinet job. He declined a chance to become transportation secretary, but privately “he’s said an offer from the president to serve as education secretary would have proven tougher to turn down,” Chasnoff writes.

Castro declined to comment to the Express-News.

Castro was chosen by Obama to give the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He and his brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, have garnered widespread attention as two up-and-comers in the Democratic Party.

Last week, Hillary Clinton was asked about the possibility of tapping Julian Castro or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as her running mate if the former secretary of state runs and wins the 2016 Democratic nomination.

“They’re both extraordinary leaders and great political advocates for a lot of what needs to be done in our country, and I admire both of them greatly,” Clinton told ABC.

Running a federal agency would make Castro a more plausible VP pick.

Watch for Castro to be much more in the spotlight than previous HUD secretary.

Republicans and 2016

According to POLITICO, Rand Paul and Chris Christie are topping the lists of Republican strategists and campaign workers.

The next presidential election is two years away, but Republicans running for office this cycle already have an array of surrogate options when it comes to potential 2016 contenders.

To find out who tops their wish lists, POLITICO put the question in recent weeks to more than 25 GOP campaign managers, strategists and aides in competitive races across the country. Though it was not a scientific survey, their responses offered clues about which potential presidential hopefuls have the most cachet with down-ballot Republicans right now — and why.

Operatives mentioned Paul more than any other prospective 2016 candidate. Christie followed — despite the fallout from the so-called Bridgegate traffic scandal — thanks largely to his continued fundraising prowess. In the next tier were Walker and Ted Cruz, whose diverging styles each appeal to segments of the GOP. After them, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio each got multiple nods. It all speaks to the rowdy selection process that lies ahead for the party in 2016 – and, in the meanwhile, the menu of prominent supporters available to candidates on the 2014 map.

Paul’s popularity in interviews highlighted the multifaceted appeal the Kentucky senator enjoys as his stock rises within the GOP.

Campaign hands cited the sharp profile Paul has cut in the Senate; his fluency on issues like privacy and Obama administration accountability, which are buzzy among young conservatives and libertarians; and his ability to get supporters to open their checkbooks.

“Rand Paul has a lot of grassroots energy he’s tapping into, the youth and kind of libertarian movement that other candidates just really haven’t grabbed a hold of yet, so that makes him kind of a unique, different choice that could inject some energy into the campaign,” said a source in one New Hampshire House race.

(Like many people interviewed for this story, the operative asked for anonymity. Aides often said they wanted to avoid alienating other potential surrogates or didn’t want to get ahead of invitations that, in some cases, are still in the planning stage.)

Paul’s appeal as a headliner isn’t limited to one region of the country — he’s well-regarded in the Midwest, said one aide there who picked him — nor solely to anti-establishment insurgents like himself.

A source in one incumbent’s campaign quickly fired off an email identifying Paul as their top pick: “Without a doubt,” the source said.

Paul is looking to spend this man-of-the-moment capital carefully – but his strategy hasn’t been without its pitfalls so far. His last-minute appearance for North Carolina Senate contender Greg Brannon failed to catapult Brannon into a runoff with establishment-backed nominee Thom Tillis. Other Paul-endorsed candidates have fared better, though: Curt Clawson won the special primary in Florida’s 19th District and is likely headed to Congress.

Through his leadership PAC, Paul has contributed $21,400 to six federal candidates this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“Once he’s involved, he’s all in,” a Paul adviser said. “I think people will see him getting more involved as we get closer.”

But, the adviser said, “he does want to be judicious.”

Next most-mentioned after Paul came Christie, a brash northeasterner who no longer has to worry about reelection back home and is already criss-crossing the country in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

In POLITICO’s survey, Christie’s fundraising strength came up repeatedly. It’s well known that he’s already helped rake in millions for the RGA this year alone.

“Even though he is dealing with ‘Bridgegate,’ his ability to draw a HUGE crowd and raise $$ lessens any ‘bad ink’ consequences,” a consultant in a California House race said in an email, also identifying Walker as an alluring surrogate.

The surrogate decision-making process in competitive general elections should go something like this, the consultant said: “Will this candidate’s positions on issues draw me off my message? Does having one candidate alienate me from the supporters of others? And most importantly, can I raise enough money from the event that number 1 and 2 don’t matter!?”

Christie passes that test, said the consultant.

Multiple House and gubernatorial campaigns in the Northeast raised their hands for Christie — including that of Tom MacArthur in New Jersey’s 3rd District, where he and primary opponent Steve Lonegan have both previously expressed interest in Christie’s endorsement.

But Christie’s name also arose out West, where a strategist to several House races there said, “[V]oters find him intriguing because of his reputation for speaking his mind.”

Next was Walker. The Wisconsin governor’s conservative credentials are established, and strategists said he can maintain a good base-mainstream balance.

“He is the only candidate that doesn’t have organized forces shooting at him [among Republican constituencies],” said the California consultant who liked Walker and Christie, “and he can come into a swing district and talk economics, jobs, spending without drawing into a discussion about social issues — which only motivate and turn out the opposition.”

Notably, Walker was also named in the South, where a crowded Georgia Senate primary is underway to take on a relatively formidable Democratic candidate for the red state, Michelle Nunn.

“Governor Walker has demonstrated that: 1) Republicans who focus on limited government, fiscal responsibility, and job creation win elections, even in a Democrat-leaning state; 2) true conservative policies get results when put into action; and 3) most voters respect elected officials who take a stand for what what they believe in, regardless of the potential political consequences,” said an aide to one Georgia Senate campaign in an email.

Walker has stepped out for Pete Ricketts in the Nebraska gubernatorial race, Doug Ducey in the Arizona gubernatorial race and for at least one Wisconsin statehouse hopeful, but it’s unclear how visible he’ll be later in the cycle as he fights his own reelection in the Badger State.

Next: Cruz, who is talked about in heroic terms by many conservative candidates.

“I think there’s an incredible amount of excitement for Sen. Cruz amongst the grassroots,” said a source in a southern Senate campaign, noting that the base lacks faith in most politicians, even Republicans. “I think Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin are two people they trust.”

Challengers see themselves in the Texas senator, even in races where their odds of an upset are considered steeper than Cruz’s surprise victory over a GOP establishment figure two years ago. He’s made endorsements in the Oklahoma and Nebraska Senate races, plus the Nebraska gubernatorial race, and sent almost $26,000 to federal candidates through his leadership PAC.

“Ted Cruz would be extremely helpful as an endorser and a fundraiser,” said C. Edmund Wright, a consultant to longshot South Carolina Senate hopeful Lee Bright, in an email. “Rand Paul and Mike Lee would be great also.”

You can read more by clicking on the link above.

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