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)
  1. Seriously?

    Rand Paul has some mental issues, doesn't he?

    February 9, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Janalionberger

    Do any of you ever think the reason why it might turn blue is because of your attitudes, beliefs, and lies. Just saying

    February 9, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Mildred Moore

    I'm sad to say that liberal thinking has pulled the 'rug' from under Republican conservative thinking. We need an agenda that doesn't glorify liberalism but zones in on people helping others by inclusion but looking forward to the future generations that these ideas affect. Education has allowed liberal thinking to include some bias against conservatism. Lets quit pointing the finger and join together to the greater good of this country. Lets make our voice heard to be fair to all citizens as long as agenda doesn't hold us hostage. We should applaud life and education and experience in these times of unsettled actions of a few. The office of the president should be a honor to make our citizens have jobs. Our people to receive help and our people to save in all areas of living. From sea to shining sea we should be raising children to care not be selfish. They learn by example. The next generation needs us to go before and make the paths walk able and generous. Wall street needs to use a better system to make points in markets slump it soar. The way of the future should be barter over borrow.

    February 9, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Reason & Logic

    I don't see how the Republican Party can expect to attract minorities when their policies discriminate against those who use English as their 2nd language, expect to attract women while disrespecting a woman's right to her own body, and expect to attract middle and low income wage earners while giving tax breaks to the rich and opposing unemployment insurance and Medicaid and suggesting privatization of Social Security and Medicare. The Republican Party doesn't need to be more welcoming, they need to do some soul searching and admit that their present policies are morally corrupt, expunge them from their platform and tell their constituents that those beliefs are no longer acceptable. basically they need to follow the religious beliefs they profess to follow, love thy neighbor as thyself, which they don't.

    February 9, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. 480

    House Republicans are afraid to vote on immigration. They know they will lose.

    February 9, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Jim

    I don't think the primary problem with the Republican Party is that they are not "welcoming" to minorities and women (although they aren't), but that they consistently choose to represent their corporate lobbying interests in direct opposition to the general welfare of ordinary people.

    February 9, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. Richard52

    I'm a native Texan and I can tell you that "Warning" calling Texas an economic engine is hogwash. I get my latte every morning from a guy with an EE degree. Sure, there are jobs on drilling rigs and such and lots of waiter positions, but find one with decent benefits that will last longer than a couple of years.....the school system is slowly sinking, there is no water policy to deal with the drought, nobody fixes the potholes,.....It was way better back in the 60s.......

    February 9, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. D jones

    The Republicans have got to grab the Immigration Issue and make it their issue without John Boehner and his obstuctionism. It is a civil rights issue and the Republicans need to understand that. If they don't they are doomed. I am a Republican and I am sick of the Tea Party fanatics.

    February 9, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. TxSagebrush

    When Rand Paul says the Republican party needs to be more welcoming to all races and all classes, that implies we are not. How politically stupid is Rand Paul anyway? He plays right in to the Democrats hands with this nonsense. First off, it's not true. I have never seen any Republican group, including the Tea Party, turn anyone away from joining us in our quest to get back to fiscal responsibility; stop the over-spending which is leading to unbelievable debt that we will be leaving to our grandchildren IF we don't turn things around and save our country. I think Rand needs to stop listening to the mainstream liberal spin.

    February 9, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  10. abbydelabbey

    Can't wait for Texas to turn blue - and for all the other "red" states to do so also....

    February 9, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. Dld

    Oh, it's going blue. So are a few other red states. The Republican Party is dying out ...by their on choice to make themselves obsolete.

    February 9, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. djak

    There's a difference in changing because it's good PR, and changing because you believe in what you're saying.

    February 9, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Josh

    If you want to recruit a more diverse party then you have to create policies that support these peoples.

    February 9, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. steve-0

    The GOP will be more welcoming the day when they exorcise the tea party demon

    February 9, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Klaark

    Republicans, you've marginalized nearly every group of people besides straight, white males with money. What did your little minds expect? You're only platforms are now disagree with everything the Democrats say, and exclude minorities and the poor. Time to fold, guys.

    February 9, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. robert earnest

    I think Rand is bloviating again. I doubt Texas will turn liberal anytime soon.

    February 9, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. meki60

    I can't believe Texas would be that stupid, probably all the out of staters looking for jobs that they cannot get in their state and they bring their voting with them>

    February 9, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. RickN

    I read the article and a number of the comments posted. Those comments from people on the right are more likely to criticize Obama and the democratic party than have anything good to say about the repubs. What you on the right are missing is that the right wing is all in favor of welfare and giving tax payer money away but not to people, but to corporations. We the tax payers are tired of paying our money to companies that move our jobs to other countries all the while complaining about having to pay their employees a living wage or benefits. Why aren't you on the right complaining about that type of welfare or is it ok because most of those companies are headed by white guys with ties and jackets?

    February 9, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. smith

    So , Paul; who do you want to blame for this ? Obama ?

    February 9, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. Liz the First

    From his lips to God's ear! Texas needs to stop inflicting crazy, evil candidates on the rest of the country. Bush almost took us down for the count. bet this is why the repugs are fighting immigration so hard. most of the folks coming over here or being raised by immigrant parents know better than to vote for this morally bankrupt, totally un-American party. they want better than a party that has nothing to offer but hate, fear, and greed.

    February 9, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Zon

    Easy to say. Impossible to do in the current political environment. I'll remind the senator it's his own party that can't even seem to agree with itself.

    February 9, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. karek40

    There is no stopping it.

    February 9, 2014 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  23. JC

    If you're rich, male, white, and don't give a hang about anyone else's predicament in life, then the Republican party is for you. Be sure to stay the course. Good luck with that.

    February 9, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. Rich

    I notice no mention of gay people, women, non-religious people, etc.

    February 9, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  25. Kyle Guthrie

    Wow, I've sure read alot of very skewed and inaccurate representations of what the conservatives and the republicans stand for.

    Think i can safely log off of this website for a while.

    February 9, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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