Castro’s campaign previously told supporters he would end his presidential bid if he didn’t make the November debate.
“I don’t say this lightly: If I don’t make the next debate stage, it will be the end of my campaign,” Castro, 45, said in a fundraising email. The number he needed wasn’t specified, but the majority of the donations would go to run ads that Castro hoped would boost his poll numbers to the figures necessary for qualification.
The new plea was more stark: $800,000 in 10 days.
“I’m extremely proud of the historic and bold campaign we have built together. But this is a critical moment—if my campaign can’t raise $800,000 by October 31st, my campaign will be silenced for good. Help us keep up the fight,” Castro told supporters on Twitter.
“People said not to talk too much about immigration. Or police violence. Trans rights. Poor people. I didn’t listen. People at the margins deserve a voice in this race. Help keep me in the fight. DONATE NOW,” he added, sharing a link to a donation page.
“I wasn’t born a front-runner, but since the beginning I’ve been driving the conversation on important topics that are too often ignored,” he added in another post.
The former San Antonio mayor has struggled to gain traction in the crowded Democratic field. An average of polling data shows him averaging 1.6 percent, tied for ninth. More than a dozen candidates remain in contention.
Campaign manager Maya Rupert told CBS the September message was “hyperbolic writing in a fundraising email” but the new message is real.
“Unfortunately, we do not see a path to victory that doesn’t include making the November debate stage—and without a significant uptick in our fundraising, we cannot make that debate,” she said.
The “10 days” tactic was employed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), another struggling candidate who last month told supporters he needed $1.7 million in 10 days if he was going to stay in the race.
The tactic was successful and Booker met the number he set.
The November debate Castro seeks to qualify for will be held on Nov. 20 in Georgia. The deadline for qualifying is Nov. 13.
To qualify for the November debate, candidates must receive 3 percent or more support in at least four polls. That’s up from 2 percent for the last debate and 1 percent earlier this year. Only polls from DNC-approved pollsters count and to qualify, the polls must be sponsored by different pollsters or conducted in different geographical areas if they’re by the same pollsters.
Candidates can also meet the polling criteria by getting 5 percent of more support in two single-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada.
The polls must be released between Sept. 13 and Nov. 13.
Candidates also need donations from at least 165,000 donors and a minimum of 600 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states, U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia.