Julián Castro speaks during the "People First" rally.
Julián Castro speaks during the "People First" rally in Hemisfair Park on April 10. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Julián Castro will have another chance to introduce himself to a broader audience of American voters on Wednesday evening.

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and mayor of San Antonio will take the stage in Miami with nine other Democratic presidential candidates, including former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for the first of two debates. The second debate follows Thursday with 10 other candidates, including frontrunners former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. There are a total of 24 declared candidates – one of whom declared his candidacy Sunday – but only 20 candidates who had at least 65,000 individual donors made the first Democratic National Committee debates.

Wednesday is Castro’s first chance to prove himself against the crowded field. The San Antonio native took the national stage when he participated in a Fox News town hall earlier in June. During that conversation, Castro stressed that he needed to make sure voters knew his name.

“I don’t want to distract [people] now talking about other candidates when the fact is I need to introduce myself to a lot of people who don’t know who I am yet in this Democratic primary,” Castro said during the Fox News town hall. “I don’t want them to know who Joe Biden is and what he stands for with this air time. I want them to know what Julián Castro believes and what he thinks.”

Castro has consistently polled around 1 percent, which still puts him in the top 10 candidates, according to RealClearPolitics’ average of poll data. Castro also is the only Latino candidate in the race.

As someone with personal ties to immigration – Castro often shares the story of his maternal grandmother who came to the United States as a 7-year-old – he chose to launch his platform with a comprehensive immigration reform plan. He remains one of the few candidates with a developed immigration policy. His stance on decriminalizing migration drew support from Warren, who has solidified her position as the No. 3 candidate in the polls. O’Rourke, the only other candidate from Texas, unveiled his own immigration plan in May.

Castro also has laid out policies regarding housing, police reform, and education, where he expanded the Pre-K 4 SA model to a national scale.

Castro will face off against Warren, O’Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio. The debate begins at 7 p.m.

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.