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National | Politics

Navajo Republicans host Donald Trump campaign for event in New Mexico






A view of Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation. Photo by Bowie Snograss

Republicans on the Navajo Nation are bringing in some big names to the reservation in hopes of turning out the vote for the November 8 election.

The Shiprock Republican Committee is hosting Donald Trump Jr., the son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, for a rally in Shiprock, New Mexico, on Friday. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Cherokee Nation who is serving as chair of the campaign's new Native American Coalition is also due to appear.

“The Navajo people are conservative by traditional teaching,” said Vern R. Lee, who chairs the Shiprock Republican Committee. “If you you’re a traditional Navajo, you’re conservative -- the spirit of self sufficiency, entrepreneurship, raising a good family, life, not abortion are your values.”

The event marks the Trump campaign's second foray in Indian Country. Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence hosted a town hall at a venue at Sandia Pueblo in New Mexico in August although tribal issues did not play a role at all in the event.


The Navajo Republicans Get Out The Vote event on November4, 2016, features Donald Trump Jr.

That certainly won't be the case on Friday. The program is filled with a slew of prominent Navajos, including Peter MacDonald Sr., a former four-term chairman of the tribe who served as a Code Talker during World War II.

Ben Shelly, another former president of the tribe, is also on the agenda. So is Sharon Clachischillage, a state lawmaker who is one of the co-chairs of Trump's Native American Coalition

And while the candidate on top of the GOP ticket won't be there in person, the event speaks to the importance of New Mexico in the presidential race. Trump campaigned in Albuquerque on Sunday and vowed to carry the state next week.

"I’m going to tell you a little secret," the real estate mogul said during his second visit to the Land of Enchantment. "We’re tied in New Mexico."

Trump is actually trailing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the polls, according to RealClearPolitics. And voters who might otherwise support a Republican candidate appear to be attracted to Libertarian Gary Johnson, a former two-term governor of the state.

New Mexico only has five Electoral College votes but even that small number could help determine who wins the presidential race. And turnout in Indian Country might also sway the outcome -- Native Americans represent 10.5 percent of the population in the state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Friday's rally is due to take place from 4-6pm Mountain time at the Shiprock Chapter House. KNDN 960 AM plans to broadcast the event.

Prior to his appearance on the reservation, Donald Trump Jr., will speak at the Piñon Hills Community Church in Farmington on Friday afternoon.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez have endorsed Clinton for president. Both have called Trump dangerous to Indian Country, citing his past statements about tribes, sovereignty and gaming.

Clinton released her Indian policy platform earlier this year. Trump has not offered any specific goals or promises.

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