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. jeff

    I really don't know how besides gerrymandering they will win, and it may be sooner than 10 years, they insult women, gays, Hispanics. blacks, the unemployed, unions, Mexicans, the poor, environmentalist, postal employees, teachers, the middle class or anyone that likes obama care, welfare recipients, unwed mothers, the list is long. They want nothing to do with immigration, green energy, global warming, unemployment, jobs, equal pay or the economy. They are left with wars, low taxes, corporate welfare, abortion 40 times and limiting peoples right to vote, and complaining about our elected President, that is all they know or care about. Oh wait they do care about the Koch Brothers, Corporations and large donors just to be fair.

    February 9, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Steven Gold

    "That doesn't mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party,"
    When are political parties going to get it, just changing the words about that mean the same thing is not going to change most people. We need both parties to be more moderate, not putting lipstick on the pig of extremism.

    February 9, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. So what?

    Preaching to the choir. Nothing to see here.

    February 9, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Rogue351

    So far all red has represented is hate, discrimination, religious rule, etc...... etc.......... Unless a person is completely clueless , religiously superior, as observed by themselves. Or just a hatful nasty person that only cares about themselves there is really no good positive side to the GOP anymore. They are not even about family values anymore. They would rather see a orphan child remain in foster care rather than go to a gay home. This hate and discrimination is brought on by these people religious observation, which most likely once again only serves themselves on the grounds of salvation. Basically these people are of the same mentality level as the Taliban. This fear represented by these people cannot become the norm in the United States, we must not stagnate on the words of a 2000 year old book. Especially when interrupted by people bound on making as much money as possible promising salvation they cannot deliver. American needs to stand up and be strong again, not fanatical. Innovation, education, fact and employers that proved a work place that does not have a soul operated to prosper the CEO, or board. But the company as a whole.

    February 9, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  5. Ruthann Adamsky

    "We need a party that looks like America.”
    The word you are looking for is 'women', Mr Ayn Rand Paul. Not the ones who just get you coffee and give you children; the ones who do that on top of holding down a full time job, working for the PTA and painting signs for the protest rally against rich, white men who want to tell them when, how and how often to engage in sexual activity.

    February 9, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  6. Uh-Clem

    At times Rand Paul appears to be a devout schizophrenic. One moment speaking eloquently about diversity and social progress and another claiming that safety nets such as Unemployment Insurance, SNAP (food stamp program), and Medicare encourages people to not work. He has good ideas at times, but absolutely no realistic understanding of the people and programs that help good people weather the periodic financial storm. Clearly the stupidity of privilege.

    February 9, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. tpobrienjr

    The problem with single-issue voting is that it's hard to find a single-issue candidate who knows about more than one issue.

    February 9, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. Bhaskar


    February 9, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  9. mfvjr

    A loud mouth to attract limitless Super PAC.

    February 9, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. Mia

    RP needs to be quiet. All he is doing is hurting his party...the party of used to always vote for. I am a female and I don't like the way various Republicans talk about us. And enough with the Bill & Monica talk. He made a mistake. Nothing to do with today's world.

    February 9, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  11. Texas Anne

    Is there ANY chance we could get beyond this "red state" "blue state" "them vs us" mentality and just be concerned about what is best for this country & the people as a whole???? I'm tired of every election just being a contest about which party can win more seats than the other party. We're ALL in this deal– not just US or THEM– but ALL of us. If we don't get over this separation mentality and start working in unity, then we're going to end up no better than some of the third world countries so many like to look down their noses at because of their in-fighting. There has to be a common ground somewhere so we can stop trying to divide this nation. Just my two cents worth....

    February 9, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. maryc

    republicans are evil

    February 9, 2014 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. Loathstheright

    Texas might continue to become real Americans if they keep turning blue....equal rights for all.

    February 9, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  14. Loathstheright

    Rand Paul translation: "We need to lie to a greater amount of people.".

    February 9, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  15. TruthandConsequence

    The Republican Party welcomes anyone who supports its core values and those values are not determined by the color of one's skin, tattoos or piercings. However, illegal immigration is not among their core values, neither is spending us into oblivion nor foisting a government upon us which regulates and enters every aspect of life. Those core values are saved for the Democrats.

    February 9, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. TruthandConsequence

    The Republican Party welcomes anyone who supports its core values and those values are not determined by the color of one's skin, tattoos or piercings. However, illegal immigration is not among their core values, neither is spending us into oblivion nor foisting a government upon us which regulates and enters every aspect of life. Those core values are saved for the Democrats

    February 9, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. maryc

    if you work for a living and make less than $250k the republicans don't represent you. If you need a health care system to reign in out of controls national costs the republicans don't represent you. If you are a teacher, firefighter, policeman, park ranger, goverment employee the republicans don't represent you. If you had a pre-existing health problem the replucans don't represent you. If you work in fast food, hotels, labor in general and are "unskilled" (whatever that means) the republicans don't represent you. If you were laid off the replublicans don't represent you. If you are gay or lesbian the republicans don't represent yoy. If you are a female and have sex the republicans don't represent you. If you are pregnant and want control over your own body the republicans don't represent you.

    February 9, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  18. Jim

    The Republicans will need to make another change if they want to stay relevant: They will nee to stop putting forth candidates for President who think that Evolution is a mere theory.

    I'll leave it at that.

    February 9, 2014 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  19. GGB

    The Tea Party has it right that we need a limited govt. that we can pay for. The mistake is that conservatives are put upon. Actually life is very good, we have a great future in the greatest country. To continue that we have to include, not cut people out. America is best if everyone can have the chance to share in its wealth ( and I don't mean money).

    February 9, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  20. Lone wolf

    Sorry Rand Paul but your party is unwilling to except people of all races and classes!,

    February 9, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  21. Maimonida

    Wise observation. To prevent it redistrict one more time. Avoid women voting. Prohibit Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, seculars, young and old to vote. This way GOP can preserve itself.
    By the way Rand Paul look stupid with his Bill Clinton charge. Hillary Clinton was a victim of adultery not perpetrator. And GOP takes money from Chris Christie, Donald Trump and even more filthy figures. Newt Gingrich who lead charge against Bill Clinton at this time had an affair himself. Not that I approve any of them.
    But I cannot wait when male lover of Rand Paul comes forward and accuses him of being not loyal. Or something like this. People that make such accusations oftentimes turn worse than those who they accuse.

    February 9, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  22. RollaProf

    Sounds about right to me. What is your point, Mr. Paul?

    February 9, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. here and back again

    Mr Paul...it isn't about being "more welcoming". It is about CHANGING to represent what the majority wants from the Republican Party. It isn't hard. Evolution is what made us what we are...oh wait...you don't believe that do you...gonna be a hard sale to those with a brain.

    February 9, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  24. Pam

    People need to read history. From the end of reconstruction until the early 1980's Texas was a democratic strong hold. History has a way of swinging the pendulum. If Texas goes democratic it's nothing more than the pendulum swinging!

    February 9, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  25. Need A Hand ?

    What is a RINO ?
    Its what the hard right conservatives call anybody
    in the party who doesn't tow the line.

    The party is now dead in the water until somebody takes it back.
    Wanna hint ?
    Stay away from social issues.
    No vaginal probes,
    No attacks on gay marriage.
    No more free rides for corporations already making millions

    That's a good start..............

    February 9, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
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