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. Freedom4alll

    The GOP will continue to loose ground until they reject the Christian/Evangelical plank from their platform.

    February 10, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. ss

    What a joke, his message of diversification with earnings and tattoos. Is this party hopelessly and completely inept of understanding human nature and what diversification is. Republicans think the sheep's clothing is diversification. They do not allow for the true definition of diversification which is inclusive of different thoughts, feelings, and backgrounds, not earrings as Rand would have you believe.

    February 10, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Tina

    Rand Paul can say all he wants. He can fool some people but not all people. These tea party people are trying to say anything to win election.and folks watch out, they are still who they are; selfish, pretend they are christians but don't care for ordinary person. Only rich few billoniares are are buying us. But guess what they can buy our votes. 1 person 1 vote.

    February 10, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. welp

    the problem is, the Republican membership hates the very people they need to keep the party afloat. And the voters know it, and reject it.

    February 10, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Lionel

    Who cares if Texas turns blue, red, or purple. The whole system is beyond saving. It'll all come crashing very soon as our debt is unsustainable, our medical system is unsustainable, and our monetary system is unsustainable. The law of entropy is clear – all things move from high concentrations of order towards high concentration of disorder....untill we reach the chaos point and that's were old systems die and new ones are created. The old democrat/republican/banker money/warfare model is about to collapse.

    February 10, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. jennifer

    I miss Ann Richards... the last Texas govenor I could be proud of...

    February 10, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. texasindependent

    To accomplish this, the first thing that the Republican party needs to do is disown the Tea Party.

    February 10, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Geneyes

    We need a hybrid political group. RepoDem's. Because both have good ideas. Red states are typically lower education and greedier states. Blue states, even with the poor, on average are high education with necks other than red.

    February 10, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. captcaps

    Soon it will be Madam President and we will all be thanking the Republican Right for Destroying Their Party and making the Democrats the only party left standing......Let's all work hard to put Hillary in the Oval Office.....Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    February 10, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Joe

    The GOP would lose a lot of support nation wide if people would accept the fact that "traditional values" is an issue that hasn't been on the table for a long time. The GOP could give two s**ts about that, but they get a lot of votes talking it to death. Give me a party that actively supports and promotes traditional social values and represents the blue collar worker and they'll get my vote. Until then I'm voting against the GOP out of pure contempt for what they really stand for.

    February 10, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. GREGORY ADAMSON

    What he was really saying if "we as a party aren't fooling enough peoiple into voting for us yet".

    February 10, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. seoras

    If Texas turns blue, then America will become a One Party State in perpetuity.
    Progressives may rejoice, but history shows that democracy dies when a country has one party rule.

    February 10, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Bob

    This is ridiculous. Movement toward Dems in voting is so small, if happening at all, it is just nonsense meant as a scare tactic.

    February 10, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Hogan's Goat

    Softball Fan is correct: owners run their companies for maximum profit, not for maximum all-around benefit. Pay the employees more and take less profit for yourself! How many millions do you need? You end up as Mister Dithers when you should have been Daddy Warbucks.

    February 10, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. dean morse

    Again, a leader of the GOP speaks the truth. Its all about getting the vote, not doing what is right. The one thing he got wrong is his prediction of Texas going to the Democrats in 10 years. It will not take 10 years. It is really quite clear. The GOP, with the help of Tea Party extremists have shown that the Republicans have evolved into a very sick bunch of self absorbed pols who only care about being on the inside of politics, while filling their own pockets as fast as they can.

    February 10, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Bob

    Sly, wow, you say Dems are fiscally responsible? Brown's alleged surplus is from overtaxing.

    February 10, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Bob

    Some of you are quite deluded, and Paul is wrong. They have been predicting a blue Texas for a very long time, and the statistics just don't lead to that happening any time soon. Even the long-time Hispanics in my part of Texas are Republican.

    February 10, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. longhauler

    one of these days people are going to figure it all out and texas wont be the only one

    February 10, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. sly

    "Sly, wow, you say Dems are fiscally responsible? Brown's alleged surplus is from overtaxing."
    =====
    Wrong, no surprise. Governor Brown approached Republicans and Democrats, and forced them to negotiate.

    The $20 billion SURPLUS this year was from equal combination of spending cuts and tax increases. 50%-50%.

    The TeaKlan should've studied history before they eliminated the Republican party from any future election by shutting down America. There are millions of Americans making $30,000-$40,000 a year who left the Republican party when it decided to cut taxes on the richest 1% and end employment for the entire government.

    Of course, they failed miserably, and we'll have President Clinton from 2016-2024 as a result. The GOP: The party that keeps giving and giving and giving.

    February 10, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. cal usa

    Bob's comment is typical of the folks who have been snowed by Republicans into believing that they are the fiscally responsible party. If you look at the real numbers you will quickly see that the deficit and the national debt have grown faster under Republican presidents after Eisenhower and more slowly under Democrats. Reagan and George W. Bush single-handedly created almost our entire current debt by cutting taxes on the upper income earners while opening up the Treasury to the Pentagon.

    February 10, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Big_D

    When Rand Paul is your voice of reason, you are in trouble. GO GOP! And take the TP with you!

    February 10, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. georgex9

    The extreme gerrymandering in Texas results in congressmen having safe districts. The shape of districts ought to be made by independent and non-patrician committees based on geographic rather than politics. This safety net keeps people that are an embarrassment for me as a Texan. Four Republicans running for lieutenant governor during a debate declared that creationism should be taught in public schools. This is the influence of the tea partiers, I suppose.

    February 10, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. Hogan's Goat

    Rand Paul is like a bad example. As long as some people can't see the naked ambition and greed driving this billionaire to reach for more and more power over others, the GOP will remain a sinister, shadowy semi-secret organization. Maybe James Bond will stop them before they can attack us with satellite lasers or something.

    February 11, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  24. Hogan's Goat

    "Some of you are quite deluded" and then he says because his neighbors are Republicans, everyone in Texas mist be.

    February 11, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. Hogan's Goat

    "history shows that democracy dies when a country has one party rule" What history? We are pretty much the first democracy to make personal freedom for citizens our goal. We're making this up as we go. You're right, though, we need both sides working for us and right now we can't let the hysterical, sobbing GOP drag us into another useless war to feed Halliburton and Blackwater. Unless they come down off this dope dream of shooting all the liberals and home schooling all the white children, they are in political time-out.

    February 11, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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