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. Wake up People!

    Listen to Mr. If I'd been around I wouldn't have voted for civil rights. Tell em what they want to hear huh Randy?

    February 10, 2014 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  2. dak

    What Paul is eluding to is the growth of the Hispanic population is scaring the hell out of the hard line GOP. All I have to say is; Buenos Dias amigos!

    February 10, 2014 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  3. Mexican

    WE WANT A LATINO PRESIDENT! I agree with the Democrats, I cannot wait until Texas and other states turn Blue. I think we should open the borders and let the Mexicans and all Latinos in. EVENTUALLY THE US WHITE POPULATION WILL BE THE MINORITY! We can thank the Democrats to leave all borders open. LOOK OUT HILARY, LOOKS LIKE A LATINO MAY BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT! I would like to thank Obama and the Democratic Party for being consistent.

    February 10, 2014 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  4. truthteller

    When the only reason you're considering being less bigoted is because you're in danger of losing power......you have bigger problems.

    February 10, 2014 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  5. Jesus prefers Glocks

    What he did not say was that it was members of his Tea Party that are driving people to the Democratic party. Is he part of the solution or part of the problem?

    February 10, 2014 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  6. keyser

    Wow. He is so in touch....and that hair!

    February 10, 2014 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  7. MollyBee

    Randy Paul (with his questionable heritage, e.g. Daddy Paul, civil rights, isolationism, indoctrination camps, anti-government, etc. etc. etc.) has little chance of a Presidential run on the GOP ticket. Even if he did, he is making a huge error in deciphering the psyche of the 21st century American voter. Not surprising...so is the entire GOP. While America grows impatient with the out-of-date, regressive social and economic policies of the Republican Party, it's movers and shakers are interested only in a mere face-lift. Making the Party "seem" more inclusive, progressive and interested in PEOPLE is not going to make it. And...BTW, there are many Democrats that would actually love to see the GOP become a functioning Party again.

    February 10, 2014 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  8. tom

    2 facts: Paul put the goober into the gubernatorial, and hit the nail with his statement about Repubs loosing Texas.

    But, there is nothing he or the most moderate Conservatives can do. The white middle class has become a minority, with the tea party and libertarians dividing the moderate vote. The fear of Conservatives is real and unavoidable, soon they will be irrelevant.

    February 10, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  9. Caballero

    What has this man been smoking in KY ? Texas is way too guarded by the old regime and the best chance Texas has of ever going Blue is if the younger generation get involved in Politics and that will never happen.

    February 10, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  10. CountryConcerned

    Texas becoming a freeloader state would be a disaster. But then again, in our society, everyone is looking for a handout better known as a free lunch. With the number of free-lunchers, and growing, I often wander what country will hold the title to the US.

    February 10, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  11. rick s

    I live in Ky. and I assure you all on this mans agenda is running for the president of the United States. He hasn't done anything for our state that I'm aware of except tell us what wrong and who is to be blamed.

    February 10, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  12. Wardo22

    Once Texas goes blue, the nation is lost. Obama stated that he wanted to fundamentally change America. This will be the last nail in the coffin for the United States. There cannot be more takers than makers but that is where we are headed.

    February 10, 2014 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  13. El Matador

    Classic wisdom: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

    February 10, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  14. Matt from CT

    Why are Democrats so afraid of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz??

    February 10, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  15. veep

    Anyone remember Ann Richards?
    Texas was a Blue State in the not so distant past.
    Mark White?

    February 10, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. Lizzie

    If Texas turns blue then it's curtesy of all the northerners who screwed up their states and then moved to Texas to find jobs and now screw up that State also.

    February 10, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  17. lincoln douglas

    yes! nothing says diversity and fresh blood like getting behind a Bush!!!

    February 10, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  18. jimatmad

    Too late.

    John Boehner is trying to walk away from immigration reform again. Without the GOP being on board with something positive for the Hispanic community, Texas will be BLUE very soon.

    February 10, 2014 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  19. Boo

    "Turn blue," huh? Hell ANYTHING would be an improvement.

    February 10, 2014 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  20. glenview0818

    The more people depending on the government for handouts the bigger chance there is of it going blue. Lets have some more government handouts, it helps one party politically.

    February 10, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  21. ArthurP

    Want to really expand the base. Get out of womens private parts.

    February 10, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  22. Sven

    Whenever I see a Republican calling for intra-party reform, it's always about appearance and messaging.

    Get a clue, Republicans: you're in decline because your social policies are backward and divisive, your foreign policies are belligerent and spiteful, and your fiscal policies are the same tried-and-failed trickle-down. Policy, not appearances, is what you need to concentrate on.

    February 10, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  23. Tommy

    Yeah....that's correct Mr. Paul.

    -We're taking over, and you people are dying off. Better get used to it......

    February 10, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  24. DC Johnny

    God forbid we push harder for an America that doesn't favor one race, gender, or class ahead of the other, but treat every citizen as an American first and foremost.

    This is the driving force behind conservative values.

    The ignorance of the American populace and the sinister media have succeeded in portraying the right as somehow bigoted, simply because they seek to look past dividing us into preferential groups.

    Wake up, sheep. You are being played and paid off by your liberal leaders and their praetorian media guard. That makes you either willing accomplices, or just plain ignorant morons. Either way, you're at fault.

    February 10, 2014 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  25. W.G.

    Republicans blew that chance about 10 years ago . I hope my Texas does turn blue . It used to be stauncley democrat . Then the republican party infused it´s ranks with the bigots we threw out of the dem. party .
    But now all the old racists are beginning to die off and peace and REAL prosperity for all will once again come
    back to Texas .

    February 10, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
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