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Rand Paul: If GOP Gets 'A Clue', Black Voters Will Enter Fold in 2016

Rand Paul: If GOP Gets 'A Clue', Black Voters Will Enter Fold in 2016
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 17 October 2014 11:30 AM

The 2016 GOP presidential nominee can win one-third or more of the black vote if he or she campaigns for criminal-justice reform, school choice, and economic empowerment, said Sen. Rand Paul.

"If Republicans have a clue and do this and go out and ask every African-American for their vote, I think we can transform an election in one cycle," the Kentucky Republican told Politico.

The possible 2016 presidential candidate spent time recently doing his own outreach to the black community. Last week he went to Ferguson, Missouri to meet with black leaders. He also opened a "GOP engagement office" in a predominantly black area of Louisville this summer, and addressed the National Urban League convention in Cincinnati in July.

In the past six presidential elections, the Republican Party has garnered single digit support from the black community with the exception of 12 percent for Bob Dole in 1996, Politico noted.

Paul said that he believes it may take time for the Republican Party to generate backing from black voters, but that there is a huge margin of untapped potential.

"I think there is fully a third of the African-American vote that is open to much of the message, because much of what the Democrats have offered hasn't worked."

He added that the 30 percent figure may even be on the lower end given that polls have shown that one third of black voters have conservative positions on a number of issues when surveyed.

"I don't want to limit it to that. I don't want to say there's only a third open. … The reason I use the number 'a third,' is that when you do surveys of African-American voters, a third of them are conservative on a preponderance of the issues. So, there is upside potential."

Paul said that his experience traveling throughout the country and speaking to black leaders has given him the impression that they may be open to hearing more from the GOP.

"As I travel and I go and meet with African-American leaders — they may not be ready to embrace a Republican yet," Paul told Politico. "But they say that they're very happy that we're competing for their vote. And they often tell me, 'You know what? I haven't seen my Democrat representative in a while.' "

Separate to his efforts to reach black voters on the campaign trail, Paul has worked in the Senate to promote bills aimed at helping black Americans, ranging from the criminal justice system to voting rights, The Hill reported last month.
 
In a July appearance on Fox News' "Hannity," Paul said outreach to black voters would be a cornerstone of his political strategy going forward.

"I want to compete for the African-American vote by saying, 'You know what, Republicans have policies to help with poverty, to help with long-term unemployment,' " Paul said.

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The 2016 GOP presidential nominee can win one-third or more of the black vote if he or she campaigns for criminal-justice reform, school choice, and economic empowerment, said Sen. Rand Paul.
Rand Paul, Republicans, 2016 elections
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2014-30-17
Friday, 17 October 2014 11:30 AM
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