Rand Paul's pursuit of black voters splits GOP

“Sen. Paul is overriding his principles in a mistaken belief that it is necessary to somehow reach black voters,” former Federal Election Commission member Hans A. von Spakovsky said. “He makes a very big deal about saying he believes in the Constitution and keeping the federal government within the limits of its power as defined in the Constitution — a very worthy goal.”

Yet Mr. Paul is sponsoring a bill that would force restoration of voting rights for felons, overriding state laws in what some conservatives believe is a violation of the 14th Amendment, said Mr. von Spakovsky, now senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“Paul has been giving speeches about this because he is under the mistaken belief induced by left-wing civil rights groups that this is a big issue for black voters.”…

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — who in 1983 as a third-term congressman from Georgia founded the Conservative Opportunity Society to focus attention on economic growth, education, crime and social issues affecting urban and minority Americans — praises Mr. Paul’s pursuit of black voters.