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New Hampshire midnight voting ignites Trump-Haley showdown

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Town moderator Tom Tillotson stands at the tally board after voters cast their ballots at midnight in the presidential primary election on Jan. 23, 2024, in Dixville Notch, N.H. All six votes went for Republican presidential candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

DIXVILLE NOTCH, UNITED STATES | Xinhua | The New Hampshire primary of the 2024 U.S. presidential election began at midnight on Tuesday with the first ballots cast in the remote community of Dixville Notch.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who easily won the Iowa Republican caucuses last week, faces Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and onetime South Carolina governor, in the closely-watched New Hampshire showdown.

Dixville Notch, located in the northern part of New Hampshire and close to the Canadian border, has only six registered voters, and all of them voted after midnight, continuing a decades-old tradition. Other polls across the Granite State will open hours later in the day and close in the evening.

A new Washington Post-Monmouth University poll found that 52 percent of potential primary voters in New Hampshire support Trump, compared with 34 percent for Haley. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is at 8 percent. The survey was completed before DeSantis suspended his campaign and endorsed Trump on Sunday.

“I appreciate that,” Trump said on Sunday of DeSantis’s endorsement, adding that he looks forward to working with the Florida governor and others to unseat Democratic incumbent President Joe Biden, who is running for reelection.

Haley went after both Trump, 77, and Biden, 81, during an interview with CNN on Sunday, claiming they are “equally bad” for the United States.

“If either one of them was good, I wouldn’t be running,” she said, adding, “We need to know they’re at the top of their game. We need to know that they can take care of our national security and our economy. Right now, I don’t know that people feel like that with either one. So that’s why we’re giving them a choice.”

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“The test for Haley is to win or at the very least come close in New Hampshire, given that its more moderate and less evangelical electorate is demographically friendlier to her than the more conservative and evangelical Iowa electorate was,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a politics-focused publication of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, wrote in an analysis earlier this month.

If Trump sweeps Iowa and New Hampshire, according to Kondik, it would “show that Trump retains a good amount of appeal across the Republican Party — not uncontested incumbent levels of support, but more than enough support to finish well ahead of his rivals in different kinds of states.”

New Hampshire state law provides for semi-closed primaries — registered party members may vote only in their party’s primary, while a previously unaffiliated voter can participate in the primary of their choice.

Independents, who make up nearly 40 percent of the state’s registered voters, are seen as key to the outcome in Tuesday’s Republican contest. ■

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