February 9th, 2014
09:29 AM ET
7 years 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.

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“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)

    HILARIOUS watching the Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts walk the plank toward November. Dopey Rand Paul is their hero.

    February 9, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. Tejano USA

    If Hillary is President for 8 years. The GOP may finished, because no women, Mexican, Asian, Black etc. (minority) will ever vote Republican ever again.

    February 9, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. dan darnell

    Of course the great state of Texas is going blue. All others will follow. The fear and ignorance that the others promote is wearing thin...even to the most dimly lit.

    We may have a future after all.

    February 9, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. hottpoker

    Nothing wrong with that, maybe they'll start electing politicians who will respect the voters intelligence.

    February 9, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. Steve

    If TX does go blue, will liberals who detested the Electoral College in the past suddenly love it again?

    February 9, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Snafu

    “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.”

    We already have that, their called 'Democrats'.

    February 9, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Justin H

    The Republicans can do all they want to attract minorities, but it's unlikely to account for much until they change their position on minority issues. They also need to quit giving the crazies in the party a platform to turn people away. In other words, they need to stop being the Republican party.

    February 9, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. justwinbb

    Actions speak louder than words. You can say all you want how much you want to welcome minorities and people with diverse vbackgrounds but the truth is, its still the same GRAND OLD PARTY.

    February 9, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. VJ

    Rand Paul is right... GOP should show that they care for all and embrace all the religion, until it happens it would be impossible for GOP to win a White House...

    February 9, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    The Gop likes to starve chlld to feed a Koch brother.

    February 9, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. JJ Gildersneeze

    Rand Paul: "Conservatives who argue for shorter unemployment benefits actually have more concern for the worker than liberals."

    This is the Republicans' new poster child for inclusion??

    February 9, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. Andy Le

    We have to welcome people of all races." This is why the GOP is out of touch with main stream America. The is only one race – the human race.

    February 9, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. I R Amazed

    "They can see the Republican party is not what it used to be. Lots of self centered, corrupted politicians out for themselves. Proven by having "Green Eggs and Ham" Ted Cruz as a Texan Senator. What were you thinking Texans!"
    Funny thing about Canadian Cruz and "Green Eggs and Ham". He completely missed the point of the story and was proud of it.
    “I do so like Green Eggs and Ham. Thank you, thank you Sam I Am.”
    The point is similar to an old commercial "Try it, you'll like it". Well, once the unnamed character finally takes Sam's advice to try the green eggs and ham, he discovers that he does like it, the same as so many Americans are now finally trying Obamacare and liking it.
    Then again, that's what the right has really been afraid of all along. Once Americans can get insurance when they've lived their whole lives without it, they will never go back and will never stand for the repeal of the PPACA. Get your government hands off my health insurance indeed.

    February 9, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. OrmondGeorge

    In case you were off the planet (AGAIN): The ENTIRE PLANET will end up "Blue" if you folks don't get a MASSIVE dose of reality.

    February 9, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. kobrakai7474

    Yeah, just say a few platitudes about inclusiveness, and that will be more than enough to start winning the hispanic vote. Don't worry if your actions and your party's actions and the actions of a multitude of big money PACs that supposedly represent the grassroots of your party all point to aggressive action that is 100% contrary to your occasional vague platitudes. The American people are stupid and will blindly follow. After all, isn't that how John McCain got elected president.... er, I mean isn't that how we got President Mitt Romney.... um.... well, you know what I mean.... this time some really smart rich guys are pretty sure it will work.

    February 9, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. WSB

    The "tepid" response from the audiance at this dinner will be the consistent GOP response. A party cannot become more diverse, when one of the most common traits of its members is bigotry. Minorities know this. The GOP would basically have to become the Democratic Party to make the changes Paul speaks of.

    February 9, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Roy

    This country is so screwed up it won't make any difference Red Blue or any color.

    February 9, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Rupert Murdoch

    Somebody send Rand to the looney bin

    February 9, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Mike

    Well...this country is suppose to turn into a 3rd world country. The Dems.....aka..Illuminati....are the progression party that's suppose to help move biblical predictions forward so we can get to a collapse in the dollar, one world currency, and the New World Order. God said all these things must pass before his second coming. Here we come baby.

    February 9, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Bob Cobb

    Somebody send Rand to the insane asylum, Glenn Beck is waiting for him

    February 9, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Joe the Taxpayer

    If the nation continues toward blue balls, we will be no better than all the other socialist cesspools around the globe. America used to be better than that, but has been so infiltrated with fifth column socialists that there may be no hope.

    February 9, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. Sandvichmancer

    "We need a party that looks like America."

    Wait, I thought the primary core value of the Republican party was a "return to core values" and "moral purity". Somehow I doubt the guy with the mohawk, piercings, and tattoos wants a return to 1950's America, or cares in the slightest about securing the border.

    February 9, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. Tom

    If that is not a "WARNING SIREN" I don't know what is!

    February 9, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. dave

    TX used to be blue, not too long ago. So did OK, not so long ago either. They might be blue again, if enough voters learn, or realize, that republican supply side economics, and republcan trade deals have no worked, they caused the big recession, added huge amounts to the debt. It's been huge division of wealth since supply side and "free" trades inception, which started with Reagan which was called the Reagan revolution, the death of Keynes economic policies and the advent of supply side economics. Decades later we are at a crisis in division of wealth, and are trade deficit is monsterously high, yet the republicans are still saying that the ship will come in, and we will all be in high cotten. Many will die before they see any of that cotten. If it weren't for intense propagana and a leaning right media almost every American would know now that supply side and the republican free trade doesn't work, and has never worked.

    February 9, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. alaskan1st

    • Against taking care of the sick
    • Against feeding the poor
    • Against taking care of seniors
    • Against women's rights
    • Against letting women control their bodies
    • Against equal pay
    • Against right to vote
    • against taxing the rich
    • against taxing corporations
    • against people choosing who they love
    • against immigration
    • against science
    • against environmental protection
    • against people of color
    • against gun control
    * against unemployment benefits

    February 9, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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