Paul: GOP must out­reach if it wants to pros­per

Was in S.C. for third time this year

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY BRUCE SMITH

CHARLESTON, S.C. | Vis­it­ing one of the key early-vot­ing states in the GOP pres­i­den­tial sweep­stakes, Ken­tucky Sen. Rand Paul said Mon­day that it will be at least a year be­fore he de­cides whether to en­ter the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race, but warned that the party must bet­ter re­flect the makeup of Amer­ica for any Repub­li­can can­di­date to suc­ceed.

“We can win South Carolina for the next 50 years prob­a­bly — Ken­tucky, too — but if you want to win Illi­nois or you want to win Ohio, or you want to win Cal­i­for­nia or New York we have to be a big­ger party,” the first-term se­na­tor told about 75 peo­ple at­tend­ing a party fundraiser here.

“We’ve got to look like the rest of Amer­ica. We’ve got to do it with tat­toos, without tat­toos, with ear­rings, with pony­tails, ev­ery­body,” he said. “We’re go­ing to have some dis­agree­ments, but we need more peo­ple in the party. And when we do that, we’ll be the dom­i­nant party again.”

Mr. Paul, a fa­vorite of tea party and other con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­cans, is vis­it­ing South Carolina for the third time this year. He has also made re­cent trips to other early pri­mary states such as Iowa and New Hamp­shire. South Carolina has the first GOP pres­i­den­tial pri­mary in the South in 2016.

On Tues­day, Mr. Paul is sched­uled to ad­dress cadets at The Citadel, South Carolina’s mil­i­tary col­lege.

Fol­low­ing the fundraiser, Mr. Paul told re­porters he likely will stay out of the South Carolina GOP Se­nate pri­mary in which in­cum­bent Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham faces a grow­ing field of con­ser­va­tive chal­lengers.

The State news­pa­per re­ported Mon­day that the field against Mr. Gra­ham con­tin­ued to swell with Bill Con­nor, a lawyer and Army vet­eran who lost a 2010 Repub­li­can runoff for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, fil­ing to run in June’s pri­mary. State Sen. Lee Bright, busi­ness­man Richard Cash and Nancy Mace, the first fe­male grad­u­ate of The Citadel, also are run­ning against the in­cum­bent.

The race is one of a string of Repub­li­can Se­nate pri­mary bat­tles for 2014 pit­ting a party mod­er­ate against more con­ser­va­tive, of­ten tea party-backed chal­lengers.

Mr. Paul said he doesn’t think it is nec­es­sary for a GOP pres­i­den­tial hope­ful to ap­peal to con­ser­va­tive vot­ers to get the nom­i­na­tion and then move back to the mid­dle dur­ing the gen­eral elec­tion.

“If peo­ple per­ceive you as tack­ing one way or an­other as a strategy or as some­thing that is not sin­cere, it’s prob­a­bly not good for you,” he said.

“I don’t think any­one has ac­cused me too much of go­ing to the cen­ter yet. I’m still for all the things I’m for on taxes and reg­u­la­tion and a bal­anced bud­get. I don’t think any of that needs to be wa­tered down. I think that mes­sage is pop­u­lar,” he added.

But Mr. Paul said there are other lib­er­tar­ian is­sues that will ap­peal to vot­ers be­yond the con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can base, sug­gest­ing the party can ap­peal to younger vot­ers up­set with Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency sur­veil­lance of Amer­i­cans.

“If you have a Repub­li­can who de­fends the Fourth Amend­ment like they de­fend the Se­cond Amend­ment, I think that changes things,” he said.

The Fourth Amend­ment pro­hibits un­rea­son­able searches and seizures; the Se­cond Amend­ment pro­tects cit­i­zens’ rights to bear arms.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“We’ve got to look like the rest of Amer­ica,” Sen. Rand Paul, Ken­tucky Repub­li­can, says of the GOP while on a visit Mon­day in South Carolina.

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