It's also a chance for lesser-known hopefuls to gain traction and get much needed attention on a national stage.
SEE ALSO: What you should know about the first Democratic debate
Julian Castro was among the first to jump into the crowded pool of Democrats seeking their party's nomination.
Other candidates frequently cite him as the generator of policy and ideas with which they agree or that they adopt. But so far, he's not getting the lion's share of attention.
"Is it flattering or frustrating that you seem to put out ideas first and then other candidates typically get credit for them? As long as we still have plenty of time before people vote, it's flattering," Castro told ABC13 Eyewitness News. "We're gonna keep working at it little by little. What I've seen in this campaign is that more people are taking notice. "
During a one-on-one interview, the former HUD secretary and San Antonio mayor said the first debate is a real opportunity for him to tell his story and shift the narrative.
"My name ID is still lower than a lot of other folks, so my first priority is to tell people who I am, what I'm about, and what I'd like to do for them, and what I'd like to do for them if I'm elected president," Castro said.
Castro is one of two Texans on the stage Wednesday night.
Former El Paso Rep. Beto O'Rourke has more name recognition and a bigger war chest than Castro, but he believes he is the candidate who can win swing states like Florida and Texas once people get to know him and his ideas.
"I can beat Donald Trump for the right reasons," Castro said. "What are the right reasons? Because I have strong experience to be president. I'm one of the folks on the stage who has strong executive experience, a track record of getting things done. "
He acknowledges he might only get a few questions and he'll have to make the most of those moments.
RELATED: Can Texas presidential hopefuls gain momentum in Miami?
Castro to speak in Houston on Sunday
Secretary Castro has a busy weekend ahead of him after the debate, including a stop in Houston.
Sunday, he will speak as part of the Harris County Democratic Party's Speaker Series.
The event will be held from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at St. John's Church, at 2019 Crawford St., in Houston.
For more information and $5 tickets to the event, click here.
SEE ALSO: ABC News to host third Democratic presidential debate in September
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