Castro to headline forum in New Hampshire after announcing 2020 decision

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will make a trip to New Hampshire next week, days after he's expected to announce a firm decision on a 2020 presidential bid.

Castro is slated to headline the New Hampshire Institute of Politics' "Politics and Eggs" forum on Jan. 16 in Manchester. Past speakers at the event include former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The old 'state rights' and the new state power The Hill's Morning Report — Harris brings her A game to Miami debate MORE, former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake urges Republicans to condemn 'vile and offensive' Trump tweets Flake responds to Trump, Jimmy Carter barbs: 'We need to stop trying to disqualify each other' Jeff Flake responds to Trump's 'greener pastures' dig on former GOP lawmakers MORE (R-Ariz.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

The forum is jointly hosted with the New England Council, a regional business association. 

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The planned appearance in the Granite State is the latest sign that Castro plans to enter the Democratic Party's 2020 nominating contest.

He formed a committee last month to explore a potential presidential bid and is scheduled to announce his decision on Saturday in his hometown of San Antonio, where he was mayor from 2009 to 2014. 

New Hampshire is considered a crucial early stop for any prospective White House contender because it is the first state to hold its presidential primary.

Castro is likely to see a crowded primary field in 2020. So far, some three dozen Democrats are said to be weighing presidential runs, including political giants like former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden compares Trump to George Wallace Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race MORE.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro is behind in the polls, but he's finding a niche Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall MORE (D-Mass.) became the first major candidate to jump into the Democratic nominating contest last week, when she filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee. That was followed over the weekend by a five-stop trip to Iowa.

A handful of other Democrats are expected to announce possible White House runs in the coming weeks.