February 9th, 2014
09:29 AM ET
6 months ago

Rand Paul warns his former home state, Texas, could turn blue

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul on Saturday made a prediction that plenty of Democrats would love to see come true, but Republicans hope to avoid: “Texas will be a Democratic state within 10 years if you don't change.”

The Kentucky Republican, who was in Houston at a dinner with GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, continued to push his message for change within the Republican Party, bringing that gospel straight to one of the most reliably red states in the country and his former home.

“That doesn't mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party,” Paul said. “We have to welcome people of all races. We need to welcome people of all classes - business class, working class.”

That diversity is needed not just along ethnic lines, but in appearances, too, he said.

“We need to have people with ties and without ties, with tattoos and without tattoos; with earrings, without earrings,” he said. “We need a more diverse party. We need a party that looks like America.”

Paul grew up in the Houston area, where his father, Ron Paul, was an obstetrician who later went on to become a longtime congressman and three-time presidential candidate. Rand Paul went to Baylor University in Waco.

He has been one of the most outspoken elected officials aggressively trying to reshape the party’s image. He joins the Republican National Committee, which has spent millions in the past year to reconstruct its outreach to minorities.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, won only 6% of the African-American vote, 26% of the Asian vote, and 27% of the Latino vote.

With the success of some Democratic Latino elected officials in Texas - such as Rep. Joaquin Castro and his brother, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro - and the meteoric rise of state Sen. Wendy Davis, who’s running for governor this year, Texas is starting to gather steam as a potential pickup for Democrats down the road. Davis still has a sharp uphill fight in actually winning the race, but her star power indicates a louder, more vocal Democratic base exists in the state.

One organization, Battleground Texas, has as its mission to make the state up for grabs, which hasn’t happened on a presidential ballot since 1976, when Texas narrowly voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford.

Paul said he’s encouraged by people like George P. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. George P. Bush is half Mexican and speaks fluent Spanish. He’s running for Texas land commissioner and has been part of efforts to expand the Hispanic Republican base in the state.

“I think having people who are trying to make the party bigger is good,” Paul told CNN’s Peter Hamby on Friday after meeting with Bush. “The party has to be bigger across the country, not only appealing to people of various ethnic background but various economic backgrounds."

Speaking Saturday night at the dinner, Paul stressed that the country’s top immigration priority should be border security but said the party needs to have a “better attitude” when talking about resolving the country’s broken immigration system.

“People who are Hispanic or Latino, they have to believe that we want them in our party, so it is an attitude thing as much as it is policy,” he said.

One of those messages, he said, should be: “If you want to work and you want a job and want to be part of America, we will find a place for you.”

His line drew mild applause from the audience.

“That was kind of tepid,” he said.


Filed under: Rand Paul • Republicans • Texas
soundoff (576 Responses)
  1. Winston5

    So he thinks the party should have a bigger tent but end the article stating that the biggest Immigration priority is border security?! (Huge majority of the 11 million illegal never crossed a river or jumped a fence: they're visa expired and they stayed in America...LIKE ANYONE WOULD) Watching this Republican freefall is kinda sad...yet hopeful. They're like the battered wife who's starting to realize she CAN leave her abuser. The RNC is the battered wife and the abuser is the religious right/prolife/science deniers. He doesn't get it yet but RESPECT that he's the first on the right to acknowledge reality: Texas WILL BE BLUE.

    February 9, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  2. JJ

    “That doesn't mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party,” Paul said.

    You are losers because of what you believe, not because you are anti-social.

    February 9, 2014 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. Jason Glugla

    If you translate his politi-speak, it comes out as follows: "We need to make these damn fools believe that we care about anyone other than billionaires and corporations".

    February 9, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  4. Crampon

    I doubt Texas wants to fail like the blue states.

    February 9, 2014 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. 54StarryNights

    It looks like only Florida and Texas are stupid enough to elect a Bush, however, if they are slowly turning blue, I guess they are wising up. Either that or new arrivals in the state are raising the IQ.

    February 9, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  6. Dandy

    It would help if the Texas GOP had a clue.... Unfortunately the TeaTards have taken over the GOP and they are really no longer Republicans as they were known..

    February 9, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. kdp

    Ron Paul should join the Democrats. If the Dems ever embrace three things that Ron Paul advocates - clear support for the 2nd amendment (with some reasonable regulation), personal responsibility, and financial reform (meaning some frugality) - the GOP would disappear like water in the West Texas sand.

    February 9, 2014 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  8. ooh yaa

    This cannot happens SOON ENOUGH!!! Go Blue Texas!!

    February 9, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. Pronto Tonto

    Won't happen. There are not enough communists in Texas.

    February 9, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  10. Paul

    Don't big bad tough Texans go blue when it drops below 50F?

    February 9, 2014 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  11. Egon

    Warning, I do beleive our economci policies do attract businesses as well as a few wealthy individuals. I specifically thank our no income tax for help us steal ShIn Soo-Choo from the Yankees (pitchers and catchers report in 7 days!0), but I think fiscal conservative is a misnomer. Perhaps Laisssez-Faire is best. The irony is that our "fiscal conservativism", is the main reason more people move to Texas and the driving force behind a more diverse thinking and the BLUE movement. *M. Knight Shyamalan twist*

    February 9, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  12. Danlien

    Danlien warns of the Republicans doing something about it.

    February 9, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Well, after Paul's negative talk about Clinton, that tells me all I need to know about him. Another negative campaign because he doesn't have enough good things to say about himself.

    February 9, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  14. Tim Halbert

    Democrats are gaining the upper hand, but a split in the Democratic part will come soon enough.

    February 9, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  15. PE

    So which arm of the republican party does Rand Paul suggest improving first – the wackos or the grifters?

    February 10, 2014 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  16. Craig

    It's interesting that Paul couches his words as a "warning." It's likely true that Texas could, collectively, move towards the left politically. States do that, as the population changes, as "experiments" in a specific direction yield results, and as people recognize that they'd like to do something differently. A "warning" suggests that move, should it happen, is a bad thing. If it means society in Texas is maturing any change might well be a good thing for society. Of course, Paul is part of the GOP, and they tend to think of party long before thinking of people. Only in his mind is any change a negative, and maybe he should be asking himself why. I doubt he'd like the answer though.

    February 10, 2014 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  17. Bhaskar

    He filibustered against use of drone in Pakistan. He is helping enemy. Those enemies who is trying to kill Americans... any American....He is How is he eligible to run for any public office? LEAVE HILARY ALONE.....

    February 10, 2014 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  18. Mopery

    Rand Paul, typical RINO.

    February 10, 2014 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  19. Bob

    Rand, please. These people aren't idiots. You can blather all you want about being inclusive. They understand it's all lip service. You sound like a sleazy car salesman trying to pitch a a good deal on this used but very reliable jalopy, and as soon as you go cruising down the road, the sleaze bag runs back into his boss stating, "man, did I screw that sucker". Anything the Republican Party musters up to act chummy to everyone outside their click, is FAKE, and the folks who you are trying to dupe are smarter than that. And for God's sake, get rid of that rug on your head. That's a symbol of who you represent. The Republican Party. The fakes. You are so vain, you can't show your chrome dome? It is really amazing that most every male member of congress has this terrific head of hair in their 50's, 60's and 70's. Then, I see Boehner on the news this week, and we are having the most brutal winter in decades, and what do you know? He looks like he just returned from a months stay along the equator. That ain't right.

    February 10, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  20. TexanWarrior

    We have to take the threat of Wendy Davis seriously. She needs to be crushed in a decisive defeat and her view and sympathies repudiated. Show up, even it you're not a fan of Jeb Bush at the top of the ticket (just don't vote straight ticket then).

    February 10, 2014 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  21. Francisco Decastro

    Texas will go blue if the government goes through with an immigration bill. The GOP is against an immigration bill because of the millions of democratic potential voters in Florida AND Texas. Previous elections have shown the closing gap between it being a red state and a blue state. If the trend actually continues, who knows, Texas might actually be a toss up state in 2020, and if an immigration bill goes through, maybe even by 2016, it could easily be a toss up state. Republicans, who I think are no better or worse than democrats when it comes to their agenda, have been making things worse by only caring about their jobs and their pockets instead of trying to put the country forward. Blocking, voting against , or just being completely against most of the President Obama's bills without an alternative,is what is destroying their party. The democrats are close together, and if you notice, the Republicans have enemies in their own parties. Having the government lose BILLIONS of dollars just because of Obamacare is also ridiculous. I believe this is unfortunate. Instead of the United States having two strong healthy parties fighting for the country's well being in a democracy, all they do is complain about each other, they have the super low approval, and they could care less about the American people who are the ones suffering. The US is no longer an example to the world when it comes to showing how our politicians behave. The Democrats aren't that great either, but at least they aren't shooting themselves at the foot.. At least not yet... But the Republicans are seriously going downhill. And what's more, is that this country, no, no, this world, is becoming way more liberal. Everything is about being liberal lately, and it falls very well inside the democratic agenda. Gays, abortion, women's rights, etc... Things like that are changing. The US is everyday looking for a change in those areas. Whether the media is helping or whatever I don't know, but this world is becoming super liberal with a lot of demand from it's citizens. I am against abortion, and gay marriage, but I am also against guns and am in favor of change in our gun laws. I could never be a part of any of today's parties. I will just be an independent who will not lean on EITHER side. But I will say this, this country is becoming blue, and Texas is on a fast track.

    February 10, 2014 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  22. L. W.

    Oh I wish Rand Paul would move back to Texas if he is so concerned. ~a Kentuckian

    February 10, 2014 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  23. I will be honest

    If the Republican party dropped the religious fundies, returned to the "Government stays out of my business" model while still maintaining a strong enough government to defend the country and to keep BIg Business from running rampant on our rights for the sake of profit, than I would vote for them.

    The democrats do 50 percent of that, while the republicans do zero.

    February 10, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  24. Maani

    One can only hope that the people without ties, with earrings and/or tattoos, and the various minorities all see this for what it is: a shameless and blatant attempt to garner votes that the GOP does not deserve because it is not who is in or out of the Party that is wrong, but its policies.

    February 10, 2014 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  25. Texasguy34

    Why are we still discussing an electoral college? It's an odd and outdated system of electing our president. Didn't we figure this all out after the Bush/Gore election? It always seems to make votes cast in Florida and Ohio way more important than they should be. If you're a Democrat in Texas or a Republican in California, your vote means nothing! Presidential candidates spend little time in the two most populated states in our country because they know how those states will go. We live in the 21st century now, I'm pretty sure we have the technology to have an accurate count of the popular vote as they're being cast. The President of the United States should simply be the person who receives the most votes, why make it more difficult than that?

    February 10, 2014 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
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