Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, an all-but-announced 2016 presidential candidate, traveled to Detroit today to visit an African American voter outreach center opened by the state's Republican party and to address the Detroit Economic Club on Friday. Paul has made courting African American voters a priority over the past year, an effort that includes delivering a speech this spring at Howard University.
This isn't the first time national Republicans have tried to make up ground among black voters. Back in the mid 2000s, Ken Mehlman, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee, made African American outreach a major priority -- to little success. The best showing of any recent Republican presidential candidate among black voters was by George W. Bush in 2004 when he won 11 percent. Four years later, John McCain took just four percent while Mitt Romney won six percent in 2012.