The Flagstaff Tea Party is still looking for the right candidate, but former Flagstaff Mayor Joe Donaldson and resident Ken Dawson, already have their favorite candidate picked out, Donald Trump.

“As far as the Flagstaff Tea Party is concerned, at this time we are really on a 'search and rescue' mission," Flagstaff Tea Party President Merle Henderson wrote in an email. "(W)e are still 'searching' for the ideal candidate who can 'rescue' our nation from the private agendas of the past regardless of what side of the aisle they are from. Therefore, we will not be endorsing any candidate for president until after the primary,” he wrote in an email.

The Flagstaff Tea Party is looking for a candidate that is “honest, forthright, and has demonstrated a level of integrity with regard to his/her family and their community.”

They’re also looking for a candidate that understands the how and why the Founding Fathers created the U.S. Constitution and how they created one of the “greatest nations on earth.”

“The Tea Party is looking for a President that will restore our nation on the principles of its sovereignty not change it,” Henderson wrote.


Flagstaff may not have an organized group stumping for Trump, but business tycoon has his supporters in the mountain town.

Resident Ken Dawson is one of the business mogul’s Flagstaff fans. Dawson said the country has been destroyed over the past few years by both President Barrack Obama and Congress. He believes that Trump is the only person who can restore the country to its original place as a world leader that is respected by other countries.

He believes Trump can do this because Trump has been “immensely successful” in his personal life.

“I’ve been supporting him since I read his book ‘The Art of the Deal’ in 1987,” Dawson said. “You can find an awful lot of things wrong with him but there’s so many things he’s done right.”

For example, Dawson said Trump gets along well with others.

“He’s able to do what needs to be done and he tells it like it is. That’s why people like him. Look at the number of people who come to his events,” he said.

Dawson said Trump’s no-fear attitude of taking on the mainstream Republican Party is also a point in the candidate’s favor.

“He’s exploded the whole process. The Republicans have been lying about what they’re going to do once they get into office for the last 30 years,” he said. “The mainstream Republicans don’t know what to do with him.”

Dawson said he’s “looking forward to jumping on the bandwagon, once he’s nominated.”


Former Flagstaff Mayor Joe Donaldson is also a Trump supporter.

“I think he’s well qualified to be president,” Donaldson said. “We need someone who can do something for the people, not just the special interest groups.”

All of the other candidates are entrenched in the old lobbying system in Washington, D.C., he said. Donaldson said he is very familiar with how the system works in Washington, D.C. He went there several times as mayor to lobby for funding for the Rio de Flag project.

It would be much better if the people elected to Congress or the White House took the time to find out what the people who elected them to office needed and then worked to get those needs fulfilled, he said. But the old-guard is always looking to get re-elected. As soon as they get into office, they’re seeking re-election, Donaldson said.

“Trump will be one of those people that doesn’t play games and will get things done,” he said.

Donaldson acknowledge that Trump has had some ups and downs as a business owner but he doesn’t know of any successful business owner who hasn't -- even a bankruptcy in their past.

He also wasn’t worried about Trump’s abrasiveness.

“He’s not a politician,” Donaldson said. “He’s got to get people’s attention by doing something. He tells it like it is. He’s very much like you or I.”

The reporter can be reached at or (928)556-2253.


Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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