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. Steve

    Rand Paul is right, Texas will eventually follow Virginia and become a mostly Democratic state.

    February 9, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Thomas

    Great image of Randy Paul .

    How many cell phones dose he need to take a selfi of himself , or is he extremely advanced in communication multi tasking , or is he Tweetering , Facebooking , Texting , and talking all at the same time ?

    Texas will never go Blue , Remember the Alamo !

    Rand Paul / Louie Gohmert 2016
    True Believers of the color Red

    February 9, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Crazy Dave

    I like it how Brother Paul warns everyone about Bill Clinton, while he votes against the violence against Women act. In other words watch what I say, not what I do.

    February 9, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. EntilZha

    Right, the GOP needs to be more diverse. They need to be white, lily white, mighty white, bright white, off white...

    February 9, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. JohnRJohnson

    If Texas does turn blue, it will be the fault of crazy right-wing politicians like Rand himself. If he and other Republicans had been even halfway reasonable people, Texans wouldn't be rejecting the GOP.

    February 9, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Being warned of something that benefits everyone involved. Thanks, I guess?

    February 9, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Rand Paul

    Why is this man stll alive? Seriously...

    February 9, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Smarterrrest Human

    That because all the right wingers are inbreeding themselves to extinction.

    February 9, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    And the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.

    February 9, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. stevetall

    A Blue Texas can't happen fast enough. There are plenty of intelligent, thinking people in Texas, but for too long, they have been outnumbered by the poorly educated, half-smart ding-dongs of the back woods. Well, welcome to the future, dumb bunnies. Sooner of later, intelligence will prevail.

    February 9, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Mike

    It will turn blue eventually, and those high school grad tea party thugs can't do anything about it. What Alamo?

    February 9, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. jason

    The GOP is dying....literally as the old social security ddicts die out....Amurica would be a better country

    February 9, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Bill oreilly

    Yeah, great idea, another George Bush. LOLOLOL

    February 9, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Mark

    Paul is correct in his prediction but clueless on how to prevent it. You don't welcome minorities with invites to join the party if you have a job. You welcome them by embracing issues important to them.

    February 9, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Banjofoot

    I hope Texas becomes a "blue" state with Democrats in control and I'm working to help reach that goal. The Republicans wouldn't be a problem though, if they weren't so far to the right and were more moderate and less draconian with their policies. The biggest issue I see here is keeping the bible thumpers out of government

    Keep theocracy out of democracy!

    February 9, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Normhombre

    "That was kind of tepid". Ya think? The good old boys will not, repeat, will not welcome folks from all ethnic groups, religions, atheists, LGBT, etc. into their version of the GOP. This is why Texas will eventually go blue. The good old boys are rapidly becoming the minority. If you want it to stay red, keep unemployment high so educated folks will not want to move here. Rand Paul with his longish curly hair is not widely respected among the hard line right wing. I've even heard some talk about that Canadian Cuban as not being a real Texan! Which of course he is not. Forget the Alamo! Idiots

    February 9, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Hector Slagg

    After 100 years of Liberal's running the country where we? While the Liars and Shakers will tell you things could not be better all you have to do is look at the current situation in the country. If you like what you see then keep voting the same way. All I see is another depression coming if it is not already here. How many people on unemployment? How many people on Food Stamps. How many people on Welfare? How many people have just quit looking for a job. How many business have moved offshore? You want income equality? It is just about here.

    February 9, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. J. Bates

    Who could predict a party of people who think the world is 6000 years old would lose traction in the age of information?

    February 9, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |

    Don't change one single thing Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts,everything is fine. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    February 9, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. gwats1957

    The Republicans talk about wanting to become a more 'inclusive' party... now that their efforts to disenfranchise Asians, Latinos, Blacks, and most recently, Women, have largely failed. They will never get these groups into their tents until they quit using the power of legislation, especially in the State House of Texas against these people. It's very hard to sit down, and 'break bread' with someone who wants to destroy you and everything you stand for. We've seen this Washington for the last 5 years with the 'sequester', and the 'shutdowns'.... When Republicans start working on behalf of those who actually voted them in, and not their 'dark money' corporate masters, they will be much more successful at the polls.

    February 9, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    “I think having people who are trying to make the party bigger is good,”

    February 9, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. vijayuncle

    Rand, just shut down government few more times, Do not increase debt limit until the market takes a deep plunge, talk few more times about women's ability to shut down reproduction in case of abortion, have Mike Huckbee explain the danger of control of female libido with federally provided pills and invest all your energy to prevent marriage anything but between a man and a woman. More than a year after Bobby appealed to 'stop being a stupid party!" what has been accomplished? 2024 Presidential Election will focus more on Texas like we did on Florida and Ohio last one. Good Luck.

    We need more republicans who believe that "Texas will never go Blue!!!"

    February 9, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. mirageseekr

    Hey Rand, I think it is more like Americans have figured out your game and both parties work together. Watch over the next 10 years for more independents and less carer politicians. Both parties have firmly established that they do not serve the majority of the population. They exist to profit and comply with their corporate masters.

    February 9, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. MandoZink

    As a lifelong Kentuckian I would like to apologize for burdening the citizens of this country with the likes of Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell the existence of the Creationist museum. I cannot, for the likes of me, figure out who may have actually voted for these guys, but I am so sorry nonetheless.

    February 9, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. vijayuncle

    Rand, Republican have done a grand job of looking like USA since 47% comment. Keep up the good work.

    February 9, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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