Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) urged Republicans to stop pushing for more voter identification laws on Friday, the New York Times reported.
“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Paul was quoted as saying on Friday. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”
Paul made his observation to the Times after meeting with a group of Black religious leaders in Memphis, Tennessee. However, Paul did not specifically mention backing away from that type of legislation, or supporting the restoration of voting rights to felons, during a speech at the Republican National Committee meeting there that same day.
Instead he advised his fellow GOP members to be “more sympathetic” toward communities who have felt alienated by Republican policies. The party’s struggle to connect with communities of color was a large part of the focus of a “post-mortem” commissioned by RNC head Reince Priebus following the 2012 presidential election.
The Times reported that Tennessee state Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D) criticized Paul in a letter on Friday for remarks regarding the Civil Rights Act. In 2010, Paul told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that he opposed the provision barring private businesses from withholding service based on race.
“Get real, Senator,” Hardaway said in his letter. “To come here, to Memphis of all places, and espouse the principles and ‘goodness’ of today’s Republican Party. Excuse me if I’m not buying it.”