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. Zip_Nips

    Bipartisanship is for the feeble-minded.

    If you respond to this statement angrily, I apologize for the brainwashing you've been through. And if you’re dumb enough to believe that 300+ million different combinations of human thoughts, emotions, ideas, needs, desires and concerns can be summed up neatly into one of two ‘sides’ – red or blue – then you deserve to remain ignorant.

    February 10, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. gs

    “That doesn't mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party,” When what they believe in is the very thing that makes them unwelcoming how on earth are they going to pull that off? Lie? Because now that we all know that the wealthy have a bigger piece of the pie than they have had at any time since the 20s, and that is not trickling down to the rest of us, it is hard to believe that giving them an even larger piece and continuing this upward redistribution of wealth is in our best interest. So really all you can do is lie.

    February 10, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Hogan's Goat

    Notice how no one is on here today claiming they think Rand Paul is a fine man who well represents their Party's views to the nation? I wish Rand Paul would turn blue.

    February 10, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. macbaldy

    Texas has been a non-majority state since the Nineties. The influx of high-tech businesses and their young high-skill employees is another diversification that will continue to drive the state purple, at least. How many iterations of Ted Cruz and Rick Perry can Texas survive? The Texas GOP is on borrowed time. That's what Rand Paul sees too.

    February 10, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Bobo

    Ah yes, will Texas be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th Century... it's too soon to tell.

    February 10, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. QS

    Rand Paul leading the charge on expanding this party to be more diverse is like the blind leading the blind.

    How is somebody so out-of-touch with reality himself supposed to be the beacon of change within this party?

    Ties, tattoos and earrings? How very stereotypically ignorant of a conservative who genuinely doesn't understand what true diversity actually looks like.

    February 10, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Dean

    To gs – the rich do not take any wealth away from the poor. it is not like there is only so much money in the country and the more that the rich have, the less that the poor have. The opportunities are there for everyone. It is not really income inequality, it is mental inequality, ambition inequality, and just plain old "I want what you earn" mentality.

    February 10, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. toodark

    New coat of paint...same century old crappy interior, that's what Paul is pushing. More than anything it's big R's policies that turn people off...not whether someomne has ink or a Prince Albert. Exactly the kind of superficial BS he would be the first to decry others doing...but hypocracy is synonymous with big Rs these days.

    February 10, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. John

    Rand Paul wants to use the words of inclusion and diversity without the spine of authenticity.

    February 10, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. jared davis

    It's about time for Texas to return to the land of the living. We have put up with all the " Lonny Toons" characters this State is producing. The entire South has been in thrall of the Conservative right since Goldwat6er ran the Republicans screamed "N-r" and the so called ethnically pure ran to the waiting arms of the Republicans. The irrational fear of Southerners to change and acceptance is staggering. It 'however" not unusual for people who have been "bullied" by the Northern liberal press and society in general to react in defiance to any act that might be perceived to be a threat to their lifestyle. Perhaps the Democrats can take a page out of history and "woo" the South back to it's proper place.

    February 10, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. blue

    If Texas turns blue, it will be because the GOP failed. They have had every opportunity to get this right, but they are really two parties that split on issue relevent to the Hispanic/Latino party.

    February 10, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Sergeant

    Call it a warning but it would be good news to have another blue state.

    February 10, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Hogan's Goat

    Here's why the Tea Party/GOP is sinking: "Bipartisanship is for the feeble-minded. " Gotta love these narrow-minded fools.

    February 10, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Bill, Bloomington Il

    Bob, that would be the 21st century but dont let facts get in your way.

    February 10, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Rich Townes

    Does this Rand "Nut" Paul ever watch himself on TV? He comes across as a whining, wimp. Don't care if you are RED or BLUE, wussy is wussy. No matter what he says, he sounds like a whiner...and that gets no traction with anyone. Not just anyone should be on TV and this guy not only does not sound good, he looks bad...he should just shut up and go away. If Texas goes Blue it is because of wussies like Rand Paul.

    February 10, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. sly

    " The GOP will become what they already are in California: irrelevant."
    Notice when we eliminated Republicans in California, the alltime record deficit of $40 billion turned into a $20 billion surplus under Governor Jerry Brown.

    Simply put: Republicans are big spenders and under Bush we reached the all time high deficit.
    Under President Obama, the federal deficit percent is at the lowest level in 50 years.

    The TeaKlan party is dead.

    February 10, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. George Christian

    Our inbreeds are not living long enough so what else can we do to keep Texas with the Christian party

    February 10, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. the horror of it all....

    When Ted Cruz was seven years old (after being born in CANADA to Cuban parents–psst–his CUBAN dad fought with CASTRO) he was ordained by his evangelical partish as being the MESSIAH- yep, the second coming of CHRIST.....then he got into Princeton using affirmative action (applied as Latino for diversification qualifications) and took a GOVT loan to pay for it .... and some FOOLS on the right think Cruz is 1. sane and 2. moral and 3. a republican stalwart ( yep, AFTER he took all the stuff from the govt and married a GOLDMAN exec).... seriously, people are absolute idiots ...

    February 10, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. mindstorms1

    Randy boy has been running his mouth off a lot lately. There are always politicians who want to be president that have exactly zero chance but they keep running and running and running....

    February 10, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Howard

    Not to worry. Republicans will just pass laws to disenfranchise more voters.

    February 10, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Hogan's Goat

    I guess when he says they need to get more diversity in their party, they mean "fool more people into voting against their best interests." They stand firmly for keeping the brown and black people away from power, and for kissing up to the rich in the hope of getting a factory built in their backyard. What's in that for a Hispanic voter?

    February 10, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. FrankinSD

    And, of course, good ol" Dr. Paul has the cure for what ails the GOP. And, conveniently enough, it's a big dose of HIM!

    February 10, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Pretty sure this isn't going to occur anytime soon.

    February 10, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. MKinSoCal

    As the saying goes, "From his lips to God's ears!"

    February 10, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Softball Fan

    To Dean. You don't have a clue about how the wealthy get richer. You don't think the rich take from the non-rich? I work for a company where 40% of my income is bonus based. This company comminucate how sacred the bonus is and is a given each year That was until there was a new CEO of the company who slashed most people's bonuses by 67% to meet growth earnings numbers promised to the shareholders. This affect over 10,000 people. As a result, the COE and top management exceeded the company earnings numbers and got 125% increase in their bonuses. Most of the rich never share the pain that their employees go through. Wake up and stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

    February 10, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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