- The Washington Times - Friday, October 17, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, says the 2016 Republican presidential nominee could capture one-third or more of the black vote by pushing the right issues.

“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 likely 2016 contender told Politico.

Mr. Paul has made overtures to the African-American community by recently meeting with black leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, for example, and helping Republicans open up minority outreach offices in various cities.

The senator said he doesn’t want to put a ceiling on a targeted percentage, but that by hitting on issues like school choice, criminal justice reform and the economy, there are voters out there who are at least open to being persuaded.

“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,” Mr. Paul said. “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.’ “

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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