Dems Tap Rising Hispanic Star For Keynote

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gives the keynote address at the Texas Democratic Convention Friday, June 8, 2012, in Houston.    (National Journal)

Democratic National Convention officials will announce this morning that Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio and a rising star in American politics, will become the first person of Hispanic descent to serve as the keynote speaker at the party's quadrennial convention.

Castro will deliver the keynote on Tuesday, September 4, the convention's first night. He will share the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama, convention organizers will announce today.

The keynote speaking slot is typically reserved for a rising star within the party. President Obama himself burst onto the national political scene with a well-received keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. Then-Rep. Harold Ford keynoted the 2000 convention, and Sen. Evan Bayh, whom Bill Clinton once said would follow his path to the Oval Office, gave the main address at the 1996 convention.

Castro, just 37 years old, is the youngest mayor of such a large city. He and his brother, Joaquin, both graduated from Stanford and Harvard Law School before entering public service. Joaquin is the Democratic nominee and the odds-on favorite to succeed retiring Rep. Charlie Gonzalez in Texas's 20th Congressional District.

And while Julian Castro will become the first Hispanic to give the main address, he's going where plenty of Texans have gone before. His address will be the fourth time a Texan has given the keynote speech at a Democratic convention, following former Gov. Ann Richards in 1988 and Rep. Barbara Jordan in 1976 and 1992.

Democrats have now filled out all three nights of their convention's prime-time lineup. The day after Castro and Michelle Obama speak, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren will share the stage with former President Bill Clinton to deliver what Democratic officials are billing as the contrast between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. And on Thursday night, the convention's final night, Vice President Joe Biden and Obama will split speaking duties.

Republicans haven't named their keynote speaker yet, though several media outlets have reported New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is penciled in for the honor.