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. Larry38363

    I think as long as the Republicans go even farther right the bluer everything will get.

    February 9, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Rosslaw

    Let's see, make sure Hispanics know that you despise them and that you would prefer the latitude to machine gun them at the border, subject women to sharia law-like pre-abortion "education" such as being raped by an instrument in a procedure no doctor would recommend, legislate massive electoral fraud on the ridiculous ground you want to stop nonexistent electoral "fraud" and advocate like Paul the right of any business to refuse to serve Hispanics, blacks, orientals or hell, anyone you don't like, because its the "right" of that business to refuse food or accommodations. And then wonder why your intended victims don't particularly like you.

    February 9, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. DWT

    Somehow it seems to me that the future is this: Republicans control the House forever and occasionally the Senate, but they will soon stop winning the Presidency ever.

    February 9, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. galileo225

    That would imply texans starting to think for themselves...Not much chance of that happening.

    February 9, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. allenwoll

    Rand's brain must be quite an interesting sight to behold for anyone dealing in curiosities ! !

    February 9, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. scootfl78

    You're supposed to "warn" when something bad happens Mr. Paul, not when something good happens.

    Saying, "Police are afraid that dangerous criminals will be arrested and taken off the streets" doesn't sound correct as a warning, does it? Neither should saying, "Texas may have less bigots and racists in the future", which is what Rand Paul is trying to warn us about. It may sound sad to Mr. Paul, but to to those of us who are civilized and care about life.

    February 9, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Sashatree

    Oh, it's gonna be more than just little ole' Texas!! Just wait!! The GOP has destroyed itself – and people see right through them and their evil motives!!

    February 9, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Truth Today

    A blue state is a good thing. Red is associated with "STOP" in the modern era. Nevertheless, the sincerity of the Republican Party will be tested and hopefully it will be found genuine. The GOP could greatly benefit from an infusion of diversity of thought, ideas, incomes, ethics, and ethnicity.

    February 9, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Jeff Tartt

    Maybe the GOP should just LIE to minority groups just like the Libs have been doing for over 50 years.They don't seem to mind?Tell me what I want to hear and I'll vote for you!

    February 9, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Fish

    No wonder that Texas may go blue just look at the yahoos they have in Congress, From Louie "Gomer" Gomert to Gov. "Quick draw" Perry they are the laughing stock of America particularly when they insist upon seceding from the nation which feeds them billions to maintain their military bases alone!!! It seems since Miss. Ann Richards passed the only good thing in Texas are the tea party pukes who make them look like morons. Wendy Davis may not be perfect but at least she isn't a loon!!!

    February 9, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. PikeRover

    “People who are Hispanic or Latino, they have to believe that we want them in our party," "Believe" is the important word here. Believe not know.

    February 9, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. Insight

    Rand Paul must get baptized as a Democrat.

    February 9, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    ed Poko, illegal aliens don't vote and Obama is not a socialist.

    There are plenty enough Hispanic citizens in Texas to turn the state blue if they vote Dem. But I'm guessing you hate them all, and that's why they will probably vote Dem, because they see people like you on the Republican side of the fence.

    February 9, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. truth

    stupid Republicans. they think that no one remembers that in 2005 they removed all consumer protections from private student loans like standard bankruptcy protection and in the process created the student loan crisis. well guess what pubs?! those students and family's you did irreparable harm to are voting your sorry butts out of office. maybe the corporations you love so much will take you in one you're fired.

    February 9, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. sam111

    rand paul is proof that, in this world, there are more horses patooties than there are horses

    February 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. LuckyDog8

    10 years? More like 2 years – or sooner. And it really shows how much Paul is out of touch by his focus on the outside of people – tattoos? ties? earrings? What??? You cannot be diverse if you only see unimportant things. How about unemployed? gay? homeless? equal rights? refusing to go back to coathanger abortions? believers in the Constitution who are for gun control? As long as the GOP keeps trying to drag the US back to 1850, they will remain a dying party – and that is great news for the US and the world! We need less hatred, less lies, less pigeonholing, less hatred of women, less hatred of human rights, more personal freedom. You can slap lipstick on the GOP, but it will never have the brains or attractiveness of any pig!

    February 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Theo

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

    So they will still lie, cheat, scam and worship money but just be more welcoming

    February 9, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. the fox

    It seems Mr. Paul wasted a lot of words. All he had to say was, "Let's be more like the Democratic party."

    February 9, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. Paul

    Hey, republicans. It is not what you say, it is what you do. Until you realize that, dont expect election results to change. Your party has been infiltrated with people that are just not stable.

    February 9, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Mark

    Latinos, if you want to work and you stop speaking Spanish and magically turn your skin white, the Republican Party is ready to welcome you. Oh, and changing your first and last names wouldn't hurt, either.

    February 9, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. Fred Derf

    If Texas' 38 electoral college votes do go blue (and stay there) then you can forget about a Republican ever being in the White House again. We will quickly stop talking about Ohio's mere 18 votes.

    February 9, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. osoflow

    Yes,it wiil actually turn blue the GOP have nothing to offer,Obama deserve a third term to change America and paint all Amerca BLUE,november wiil decide,Americans can't make another 2010 mistake, enough is enough.

    February 9, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |

    Oh Texas will be delivering its electoral votes to Hillary in 2016.

    February 9, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Mike in SA

    If Texas ever went "blue" it would be because Texans got tired of a compromised Republican Party not serious about limiting government size, power, and reach and the electorate moved towards the Libertarian Party that is serious about it.

    February 9, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. Xorax

    I cannot say whether Texas is "going blue". I cannot say whether that constitutes a crisis. But I can say that, if it even might turn blue, then it wasn't as red to begin with as some would have us believe.

    February 9, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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