SAN ANTONIO – Mayor Julian Castro has arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
It’s the same political stage that launched President Barack Obama’s national career.
We will see very soon if being the keystone speaker will launch Mayor Castro from city hall in San Antonio to Washington, D.C.
He gives the speech Tuesday night, the opening night of the convention.
Until then, Mayor Castro will find a media circus surrounding his political ambitions as well as unprecedented security measures.
As mayor, he hopes the big speech gives an immediate boost to the Alamo City.
"It's great for San Antonio,” Mayor Castro says. “We're going to get a couple of minutes of free advertising time."
In the long term, it’s a make-or-break moment for the man many hope will one day be the first Hispanic President of the United States.
He’s been tweeting about the speech for weeks – the countless drafts, the rehearsals – as for what he’s going to say, he made clear Clint Eastwood didn’t force a rewrite.
"I won't lie to you: I'm not going to be talking to any empty chairs up there,” Mayor Castro said to applause and laughter from a crowd sending him off to Charlotte.
Joking aside, the speech is a tightly-kept secret.
"I know what I want to say,” Mayor Castro says. “And I'm going to say it on Tuesday. And I believe it's going to resonate with the American people."
An estimated 30,000 people are descending upon Charlotte for the pomp and circumstance surrounding President Obama’s re-nomination.
Secret Service, though, has been there for weeks, setting up 90 work stations in a massive communication center.
"So depending on what the incident is, you can bring up video feeds and everyone can look at the same thing and discuss the same thing together,” Russell Nelson with the Department of Homeland Security explains.
And if one of those screens has Secret Service agents seeing double, it’s not a mistake: the Mayor’s twin Joaquin will also take the stage to introduce his brother, putting both Castros in the national spotlight.
The Mayor has said he plans to share his family story. No doubt, Hispanic voters are a crucial demographic every election year.
The Democrats announced they now have a Spanish-language website
for the convention, including interactive features.