Most of the Democratic presidential candidates stopped in Iowa over the weekend for the start of the Iowa State Fair. Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro spent the weekend in the first caucus state and sat down with NBC 5.
"Iowa is the first state and so you have to do well here. If you don't do well here, then it is hard to maintain any kind of momentum moving forward," Castro said. "There are so many candidates out there now and I think a lot of voters, what they say is, 'You are in my top three, you are in my top five.' The job that I have, and that other candidates have frankly, is that you have to be their top choice for the caucus by February."
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, said his organizing team is growing.
"What I have seen is more people coming to our events, and after the two debates we have had, I am on more people's radar screens," Castro said.
Castro has had two impressive debate performances, taking on both former Vice President Joe Biden and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is from El Paso.
While Castro has seen a surge in fundraising, he has not seen his poll numbers rise. He has the necessary donors to make it to the stage in the third Democratic primary debate September, he does not yet qualify in polling.
"We have gotten a little bit stronger for sure than before the debates, and I am only one poll away from qualifying for the September debate, which I believe that I will do," Castro said.
Whether he qualifies for the debate or not, Castro said he intends to continue in the race.
"I believe I am going to get into the September debate," he said. "You know we are going to work hard to do that, so we are going to keep going into the fall."
While Castro continues to spend time in Iowa, he said he thought think Texas is in play for Democrats in 2020.
"Texas is winnable. I'm convinced that if I am the nominee I can win my home state of Texas. Whatever happens I am confident the Democrats are going to have a very good year in 2020." Castro said.