Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Politico that the GOP could win one third of the black vote in 2016 by promoting “criminal-justice reform, school choice and economic empowerment.”
In a phone interview with Politico, Paul said:
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. That doesn’t mean that we get to a majority of African-American votes in one cycle, but 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 has offered hasn’t worked.
Paul told Politico that his meetings with African-Americans have been productive:
As I travel and I go and meet with African-American leaders — they may not be ready to embrace a Republican yet, 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.’
Paul added that he did not want to “limit” the GOP to a third of the vote: “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.”
In a recent interview with CNN, Paul called the GOP’s failure to reach out to African Americans “the biggest mistake we’ve made.” Paul has recently met with African-American leaders in Ferguson, Mo., and students at historically black colleges.
Exit polls indicate that former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney won only 6 percent of the African-American vote in 2012.