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. longtooth

    Minorities are welcome in the republican tent. Welcome to sweep the floor for less than minimum wage and no benefits.

    February 9, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. sam

    The GOP's core beliefs are anti-diversity. They have to give up their beliefs to change.

    February 9, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Karin

    Have you noticed what happens to Blue states? Bankruptcy

    February 9, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. eric

    texas is already 60/40, and yes in 10 years it will be even or the opposite of current. as the cities get bigger, the dem base, so will it's percentage.

    February 9, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. Jackson

    Solomon Walker

    Look at the twisted headlines at CNN today. What does that tell you about the Obama administration influence of "change" on the nation?


    The big headline is "Castaway 'was a bit off'"

    Secondary headline is "One-two punch for Team USA"

    Oh, yes, these are purely scandalous headlines, aren't they?

    February 9, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Mike

    The reason the Republican Party will lose Texas is not because of intolerance or lack of diversity or pretty much any other reason folks come up with. The party is to blame in the job loss department and its rich boy image needs to put people to work here not overseas. The biggest reason the party is dying is simply the folks who support the Democrats by in large are looking for a free ride and want the government to take care of them. What they will never understand is the government can't give you ANYTHING without first taking it from someone else. The takers now outnumber the producers and sooner or later without some drastic changes espically in attitude of the takers the systems gonna crash. So to all you Democrats that are gleefully enjoying this better save your nickels cause your gonna need them. Good luck.

    February 9, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. James

    When a former minority ethnic group becomes the majority, I have one important wish:

    I hope they treat us better than we treated them.

    February 9, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Kinard

    Better blue, than stupid.

    February 9, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Therickaman

    Here is to hoping it does.

    February 9, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Big_D

    The GOP has always just assumed the people of Texas were stupid. They didn't realize it was for all the pork projects that keep Texas in good shape. Start cutting NASA and all the Osprey manufacturing with your shrinking budget and see where that gets the GOP in Texas, Those people on SS and Medicare are wising up to the GOP too.

    February 9, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Willllburrrr

    Usually a 'warning' is given if impending doom is eminent. In this case, thanx to the smarter ones among the Austin residents, a celebration will be in store. There is no way TX righties could get more wacky anyway, so while they crash and burn, the wheels have been turning to fix the problem. I welcome TX for the intelligent ones among them working to make this happen.

    February 9, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Victor


    That's what republicans deserve. Party full of racist, haters. Hypocrites preaching that they want to welcome people from all classes on one hand, but on the other hand hurting the weak and defenseless, systematically building legislation, using the power of congress against women, minorities (African Americans and Hispanic communities ) even now against LGBT people. This are the very same people who did nothing to avoid the current financial crisis, who send our children to fight their phony wars and have nothing solved but thousands of dead soldiers. the very same hurting minorities through legislation to preventing them from vote even if they are American citizens, criminalizing undocumented immigrants for wanting to have a job, the very same from red states like Texas where women can't legally have an abortion procedure even if case of rape.
    They don't care about classes, they do not protect the weak and defenseless and make them better and productive for America. They never care about minorities, all they want is their vote, then abuse them putting legislation against them later. This are the very same hypocrites preaching now that they need a party that looks like America. But America now a days look poor, depressed, broken thanks to them, thanks to all they did over years of republican administrations and now trying to excuse all done in the past and blame everything on the current administration.
    The poor, the minorities or those affected by the power of this scumbags need to be united, don't vote for democrats if you don't like them but don't EVER vote for those trying to hurt you!!! Instead try rise a new kind of leadership independent and non biased specially not influenced by corporate America who always want to do whatever they want with the support of their republican buddies. This can be a long way, a process that might take decades but necessary for America. Perhaps starting with turning Texas to a blue state just to send a clear message that the oppressed is sick and tired of this people.

    February 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. smith

    This doesn't surpise me coming from Paul. The fear tactic is used far to often by both sides. This is simply to scare the jeepers out of the conservative base that a liberal dictatorship could be near. History shows that no side will have complete control. Come off your high horse Paul!

    February 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Dave

    If you want people to stop hating you, then perhaps you should stop hating them.

    February 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Patrish

    When states go 'blue' it's for many reasons, but the Republican are driving away voters. They have little to offer the average person. We don't care about religion extremes, nor about big government, or do we get upset about abortion, etc. so just what can the Republicans offer us? They don't want to work to fix immigration, etc. The only people they appeal is to the 'good ole' boys and they are less and less of those around. So yes, it probably will happen in the next 5 years or so.

    February 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. t

    .............Everyday, more and more Tea Party types die off,.....It's just demographics...............
    .........................Everyday, more and more immigrants become voting citizens,....It's just demographics.............
    ......................................Everyday, the GOP loses voters, and the DEMs gain voters...........It's just demographics....

    February 9, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Big_D

    The GOP expects Texas to get the toxic sludge from the XL Pipeline while Canada and Koch's get the money and be happy with the water pollution in the farming aquifer. Brilliant!

    February 9, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. oneslydragon

    going blue would be better than staying tea Party.

    February 9, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. oneslydragon

    The Paul family, one speech say be inclusive, all his actions say keep the voters white, Anglo Saxon and Protestant

    February 9, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. Steve

    As a Texan, I'm glad we're going blue. I'm sick of Republicans without half a brain winning elections just because they have an R next to their name. I used to be a Republican, but they've gone so far right of the political mainstream that they make Reagan look like a dope-smoking hippie. Not only that, but their rhetoric has become based completely on falsehoods in recent years. They've started using dirty tricks to win elections that, while legal, are certainly immoral. Remember how a Republican won an election in a highly black area because he made no public appearances and let people believe that he was black?

    February 9, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. YADPOI

    Its time for all of America to wake up! Politicians DO NOT care about us as individuals! All they care about is themselves. That coupled with the fact that most Americans vote on a one issue basis; i.e. pro-life, pro-choice or any other one you can come up with is the problem. 99.9% do not vote on who will do the best job of straightening out this mess. I am an independent because no one party has all the answers and as soon as "We The People" realize this the better off we will be! Liberals will hate my next statement untill they truely understand it and that is this, the U.S. Government is the largest BUSINESS on the palnet and it needs to be run like one. That means getting the best business minds involved solving our problems. This also means that not everyone is happy all the time but that's just the way it has to be!

    February 9, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Jimmy Joe Bob

    The entire country will go blue in the next decade.

    Because the old religious fanatics and racist dinosaurs that make up the Republican base, are dying off.

    February 9, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. adibese

    Nobody cares what you look like, but when you base policies off a Bronze Age book that's where the troubles start.

    February 9, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. Bubba Rydel

    Most Mexican Americans are for containing our borders. Many 2nd and 3rd generation offspring have never been to Mexico and cannot speak Spanish. Mexican Americans families are mostly Catholic and believe in the Moral values the Tea Party adheres to. Many believe that it was the Mexican American/Catholic vote that put Ronald Reagan in the White House. The Republican Party continues to lump the Illegal Alien and the Mexican American public together. The MA can and does vote – the illegal alien cannot vote. Educate your "experts" with the media, your politicians and your AM radio host and instruct them to treat the Mexican American with the respect they deserve and you will win their vote. I have a MA friend whos father was an Engineer back in the Fifties. His brothers are Lawyers, Bankers and Salesmen. His sisters are RN's, Sales and Housewives. And his extended family are all the same. Don't believe Hollywood. Look around you – bank tellers, store managers, cops, firemen, musicians and investors. Look at all of the thousands of MA's that fought and died in all of our wars. GOP – recognize them and win their vote.

    February 9, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. AceGirlshusband

    So, the nation is in danger of becoming a one-party system? And that would be "moderate" Democrat with dope, new undocumented citizens, greater welfare and restriction of 2A – or would it be "progressive" Democrats with dope, anti-religious everything, new undocumented citizens, welfare increases for certain groups, gutting of the military AND a complete repeal of 2A?

    Maybe the Prius will become the national bird.

    February 9, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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