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. svann

    His line drew mild applause from the audience.

    “That was kind of tepid,” he said.

    Classic ending for the article and for the gop.

    February 9, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. Bolognafish

    If the Republicans continue serving the interests of their corporate masters/sponsors over the interests of the American working class the national map will get bluer with every election.

    February 9, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. SadlySensible

    Until the GOP gets over its obsession with women's reproductive organs it will slowly die. Every time I think they can't surprise me anymore, someone like Mike 'Libido' Huckabee manages to drag the Republicans further into the gutter. I swear their fixation is positively Freudian and, quite honestly, disgusting.

    February 9, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. CC333

    It could happen with all the new Democrats moving to the state, but I hope they remember that it was conservative policies that created the jobs. Just think if Texas was a blue state currently those jobs wouldn't of been available and then what? President Obama and the democratic party policies have been devastating to the job market and if they don't change everyone will be on welfare and homeless.

    February 9, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Revenant Shadow

    "That was kind of tepid."

    That's because they loathe the messenger AND the message.

    February 9, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. MightyMoo

    “We have to welcome people of all races. We need to welcome people of all classes – business class, working class.”

    They have no chance, they are too far right now to do that and their hard core elements are choking them with cash.

    February 9, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. GH

    The problem with the GOP is that they WONT change. That is their calling card: Being conservative in all things. The same thing that makes them popular to the conservative crowd is the same thing that makes them unwelcoming to everyone else.

    Maybe Rand Paul means they need to put on more of a front, pretending to be inclusive, because to actually be inclusive would be the opposite of what the party has stood for since the 60's.

    February 9, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. magicpanties

    The GOP continues to look for superficial ways to attract more voters, never considering that it is their policies that are to blame.

    February 9, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. liz

    which explains why he is wagging the dog.

    February 9, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. PtBarnumBoy

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

    Our boy Rand must not ever listen to his own speeches.

    February 9, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. stephen48739

    "If you want to work and you want a job and want to be a part of America, we will find a place for you." Well said, Mr. Paul. I support the socialist idea of eliminating political borders between countries. Isolationists, those who advocate trade barriers and strong borders contribute to conflicts between nations. Trade and immigration between counties promotes world peace. I see no difference between a man from Mexico, coming to our country for work, to support his family and my Grandfather, who moved from Kansas in the 30's, to Detroit, to work for General Motors, to support his family.

    February 9, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Rick K

    Texas turn blue?????
    With a leader like Ted Cruz how could that possibly happen?

    Maybe the Texan separatists are starting to wake up and see what an idiot Teddy really is.
    Naaaa, that's just dreaming.

    February 9, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. BD70

    You don't want to change your policies? Then I guess its status quo. You see....USA is changing...your policies no longer are desirable to the many. As long as your policies benefit the wealthy...well the majority isn't buying it. And get rid of your hate. Its destructive.

    February 9, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. rs

    Paul may be smarter than he looks. Then again, after the laws passed in Texas attacking women's rights and voters' rights, deregulation (exploding further farms), the idiot Perry, their anti-immigrants laws and more, it might be a miracle if Texas doesn't turn blue!

    February 9, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Mike Trottier

    I wouldn't WASTE my vote on a teatard terrorist,......EVER!........and it will be a very long time before I'd ever vote republican again.

    February 9, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. bailee

    Yayyyyy!!! That would be the best thing to ever happen to America! And the runnerup would be Governor Perry's imfamous "Oops"! That took him out of the running for President!

    February 9, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. GoodVAGuy

    The Republicans need to take a serious look at their association with the far right terrorist. I for one will never vote Republican until they stop trying to turn this country into one based on Christian law. To bad, in general I agree with many of their principles. Oh, and they need to return to a participative style of governance.

    February 9, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. GarryOwen27

    Going Blue would be the best thing to ever happen to Texas!

    February 9, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. termlimits

    Is there a statesman among those chair warmer non productive lefties? Perhaps the ghost of scoop jackson! Ben carson, for president!

    February 9, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. brod

    The Republican Party has become a religious party. They have virtually no appeal for anyone outside of Christianity. As long as Republicans try to force their religious beliefs on everyone, then Texas (and many other red states) will eventually go blue. Religion has no business in politics or lawmaking.

    February 9, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Seth Hill

    As a Liberal, I don't understand the GOP. What is the connection between balancing the budget and outlawing abortion? Can a Conservative explain this to me? This is not mocking; it's a real question.

    February 9, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Bt

    This I is the same Rand Paul that thinks a restaurant (or any private business) should be able to refuse service to blacks, Jews, Latinos,gays, or anyone else they don't like serving. Not my idea of anyone remotely qualified to be President (or Senator for that matter). However, the tea parties love him of course. I guess he's trying to "etch-a-sketch" himself like Romney.

    February 9, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. DJ Reality

    Rand Paul is worried about Texas going blue? Rand wants the the South to be like it was before the Civil War.

    February 9, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. kathy

    -----–"Warns"???????????------ That's GOOD NEWS.-----–

    February 9, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Larry L

    Republicans want votes from minorities, women, LGBTs, those concerned for our environment, non-Christians, and the poor. Unfortunately, they do not want to actually consider viewpoint, the needs or rights of any of those groups. The Republican ideologies are carved in stone – and ensure the demise of the GOP.

    February 9, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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