GOP Opens Outpost in Detroit, Hoping to Woo African-American Voters

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The doors of the African American Engagement Office in Detroit will be open starting Friday morning, representing the GOP’s push to sway black voters, the Detroit Free Press reports.


Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky, who is a potential contender in the 2016 presidential race, is expected to propose a plan that hacks away at taxes to the Detroit Economic Club in the hopes of getting the collapsing city back on its feet.

It’s all part of the courting process, an outreach for minority voters who have become increasingly crucial in deciding the outcome of elections.

"If we expect to win national elections, we have to talk to all coalitions of voters," Michigan Republican Chairman Bobby Schostak told the Free Press. "The black community is a meaningful, important coalition, and we ought to be expressing where we have shared values … Shame on us for not engaging earlier."

Some of the party’s most well-intentioned attempts have fallen relatively flat. Just this week the party came under heat for an erroneous tweet saying that civil rights icon Rosa Parks ended racism.

Kiara Pesante, the Democratic National Committee's director of African American media, challenged the GOP’s attempts, saying the party would continue to be unsuccessful with minorities as long as they refuse to change strategies—such as their efforts to cut government aid—that adversely affect black voters.

"You can open as many offices and hire as much staff as you want, but if your policies aren’t going to make their lives better, you’re really missing the mark," she said, according to the news site.

But the GOP is still trying. Aside from Detroit there’s already an African-American outreach center in Charlotte, N.C., and the party has more plans to open centers in other cities. The Free Press notes that while such outreach centers new, even for the GOP, the timing, outside of an election year, is certainly unusual.


"We want to be sure Detroit prospers and comes out of the bankruptcy as quickly as possible and is turned back over to its elected leaders," said Schostak, while praising Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for allowing Detroit’s emergency manager to file for bankruptcy.

Pesante, however, thinks that only time will tell.

"I think their actions speak much louder than their words," she said.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press.