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. Roberto

    Dems will continue to sink the nation. You can only give handouts for a while.

    February 9, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. TheLeftWing

    It will take more than talk for Republicans to win Latinos (also women, blacks, LGBTs, Asians etc.). They need policies that help these groups get a fair shot at the American dream.

    February 9, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. barbarianofgor

    RandDroid policies worked when people fantasized "If I become Rich someday". But all it did was bleed money to the already wealthy who made it clear how much they despised those that did their work for them. Now we are all poorer for their lies and outright evil mixed with the most pathetic fake moralism out there. But we finally realize we can't "Get Rich" in the markets they create or rather move overseas, we need a strong middle class for people to have spare money to buy luxuries, rather than a 3rd world poverty muddy bottom with a few mountains of elite wealth.

    There is a cool video you can look up on YouTube – Bald Eagle released in Church. They let loose a live eagle into a crowd that chants "USA! USA!" as the panicked bird circles trying to escape, and then crashes into a window. That sums the TEA party/Randian politics nicely. The founding fathers they love to worship the idea of but not read any of would wince at their lunacy.

    February 9, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Veritas

    For once I hope Rand Paul is correct!

    February 9, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Dan

    “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,” WRONG! Actions are the ONLY thing that matter. Attitude is lip service!

    February 9, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. harvey

    If memory serves me right; the agreement that Texas and the United States reached when Texas joined allows them to split into five states. Not jest 2 senators going blue; how about ten. Makes my skin crawl just to think about it

    February 9, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. jeph

    The GOP is no longer talking or going in a direction this Texan wants so maybe we need to go blue. I will be looking to go independent to get choices that help me and my family.

    February 9, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Hillary

    I thought Tesax was going to secede or did the governor forget to get the paperwork done. Hope they do.

    February 9, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. George

    Republican party has lost it's way. It's a conservative value to want to preserve the environment, it's a conservative value to want to have a strong middle class, it's conservative to not want to allow corporations the ability to control media or government, it's a conservative value to not rush into war, it's a conservative value to make the most efficient use of labor which would include equal pay for equal work, it's a conservative value to not want to bring unwanted children into the world, it's a conservative value to make sure there is not a class of non-citizens living in our society without rights to be exploited. Conservatives are cautious, careful, and thoughtful. The label conservative has been misappropriated by the GOP which has endorsed the most reckless policies. People are waking up. Thank goodness.

    February 9, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. oldbones24

    Mr. Paul you are the main reason TX will return to a Blue state.

    February 9, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    Texas, Louisiana go democratic this time.

    February 9, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston. Tx

    Rand Paul is insullting Americans again with this statement because he doesn't understand Americans don't care about what happened in someones paast life, AMERICANS WANT TO KNOW WHAT ARE THE REPUBLICANS FUTURE PLANS. Until the GOP abandoned these kind of idiots all will be BLUE so Paul stop playing the blame game and look at yourself.

    February 9, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. vincent

    Better then going Pink!

    February 9, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. ashton

    USA- you are a dead nation. Washed up and over spent/bankrupt in every aspect- financially, morally and ethically. Your current President has done it to you. You will become a socialist country within the next 10 years and all of your past successes and pride will become failures. Your leader (s ) have decided to fall for everything and stand for nothing. I can't say that I am sorry to see the demise of a nation that once was so strong, independent and proud. There will rise another country in Europe – where their leaders are not afraid to stand for principles.

    February 9, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. SixDegrees

    You need to purge the GOP of intolerant, bible-thumping, theocratic bigots, in other words.

    February 9, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Mary

    Notice how the Republicans tell us everything they're against, but never tell us what they're for. It's the same old NO party.

    February 9, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Mark

    This is why democrats want full on immigration and America will sink and only you will be to blame

    February 9, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. dan

    “That doesn't mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party”

    A political party can be seen in two ways. It can be a group of people putting their views forward,in which case it is "what we believe in". It can also be seen as an entity that represents a group of people. For years the Democrats and Republicans have been successful by covering both of those visions by being flexible. As the Republicans have become more hard line on "what we believe in" they are representing a smaller and smaller group. You will never get 51% of the people to agree with your views. Sometimes you have to compromise and broaden your appeal to the electorate. Otherwise you risk continuing to devolve until you represent too small a percentage for anyone to really care.

    February 9, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. james smith

    Mr. Paul said If you want to work [ for peanuts ] & you want a job [ as a slave ] & join the american dream [live in poverty ] come join the GOP.

    February 9, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. tatertaut

    This sounds like good news to me.

    February 9, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Sal

    Can you even say President Huckabee? 

    February 9, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. sarahS

    Texas policies will make itself blue. It's Mexico-light with slave wages, the most uninsured in the nation, the biggest wealth gap, crappy schools, polluted water...and being run by republicans exclusively. That's what you get – genuflection to big oil and the 5 people who own 98% of the wealth and squalor for the rest. Gee,why wouldn't the average texan want to continue such 'success'....the whites maybe dont mind such poor performance, the latinos are smarter

    February 9, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Republican lies are turning many Blue!

    February 9, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Stephen

    LOL, I wish. Concern trolling on Rand's part.

    Arizona will move before Texas, which remains one of the most GOP-friendly states in the union.

    February 9, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. zandhcats

    Besides voters aloof the crazy Republican and Tea Party, more people have moved to Tx due to the high taxes, living standard, abundant lands & spaces from CA and NY, policies will be changed accordingly. I'm not from Tx but glad to see its changes someday.

    February 9, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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