Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) met with about 25 major Republican donors on Wednesday to discuss making changes to the 2016 Republican Party platform to draw in more young voters, including potentially changing the party's approach to same-sex marriage.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gives the keynote speech to the delegates of the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, June 6, 2014.(AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
All of the donors present had contributed the maximum $32,400 to the Republican National Committee, said Shaun McCutcheon, who was the lead plaintiff in this year's landmark McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court case.
“I heard them saying, these donors of the committee, that they really want to reach their own children,” McCutcheon told TheBlaze. “One of them had 15 grandkids. They feel like they're not on board with the platform. They want to change the platform is what I heard so that we can reach their kids.”
McCutcheon, seated next to Paul at the head of the table, said the senator took numerous questions.
“We talked about social issues out there,” he said. “I think the feeling was that a lot of that stuff should not be in the platform. Just not be there. Take it out.”
Paul's office did not return a request for comment from TheBlaze.
The meeting was for donors to speak with the likely GOP 2016 candidate, but not for an endorsement yet, McCutcheon said. He said he expects more such meetings with different potential candidates.
Social issues were discussed generally, with only gay marriage specifically cited, McCutcheon said.
“We really didn't hit on abortion much last night,” he told TheBlaze. “We just sort of lumped them all together.”
Paul objects to the federal government interfering with states defining marriage as between one man and one woman and supports letting states decide the issue on their own. Past party platforms drafted at the Republican National Committee have called for a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
“We talked about the differences between states, like in my great state of Alabama for example, it has a very different view than say California on these social issues,” McCutcheon said. “So a one-size-fits-all out of D.C. either works in one or the other but it can't work in both. So what we're saying is D.C. should not be telling California and Alabama how to do these social issues. Alabama should do what it wants to do and California should do what it wants to do. So it should not be part of the national platform. The local politicians, religious leaders at that location can work on those issues and have the freedom and power to do that.”
McCutcheon said he had breakfast with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last month at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where Cruz won the straw poll.
“These are two candidates I'm looking at closely,” he said of Paul and Cruz. “I have not made a decision but I will make one.”
The meeting in New Orleans was not as private as the Wednesday night gathering in Washington, which took place at The Source restaurant at the Newseum.
McCutcheon said Rand Paul's father, former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, was also a topic of discussion.
“They also talked about the Ron Paul-Rand Paul, what do you call it, dynasty or history; the monetary issues and the feeling there is we need to make our money more valuable, so that as a person your money goes further,” he said. “So improve the value of you money. Improve the jobs the workers have. The social issues basically, let the people work on those at the local level.”
McCutcheon said Paul “did excellent. It was an awesome meeting. He answered all the questions.”
“He did have a libertarian streak,” McCutcheon said. “They did talk about the military stuff and the foreign policy because of his dad. I thought he did a lot better than Ron did. I think he's learned. Some things the RNC is not going to negotiate on.”
Privacy issues related to technology were also discussed as a point the GOP could use to attract young people.
“We talked about the issues that are important to them, which are freedom of communications, back to the First Amendment, because the young generation really likes the cellphone and the new modern ways of communications and they definitely don't want the government involved in their pictures and communications,” McCutcheon said. “That's an issue where Republicans can win young people because we believe in freedom of the cellphone.”