US Republican primary: Trump-Haley duel in New Hampshire

Ron DeSantis is out of the US Republican primary campaign, now all eyes are on New Hampshire. Donald Trump and Nikki Haley have a duel there.

In the fight for the US Republican presidential nomination, the important primary election has begun in the state of New Hampshire. After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently dropped out of the race, former President Donald Trump and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley are now in a duel for their party’s nomination for the presidential election at the beginning of November. Results from New Hampshire were not expected until Wednesday according to German time.

The vote in the small state in the northeast of the USA could possibly give Haley a boost in the duel with Trump – or provide a clear signal of the ex-president’s expected breakthrough in the primaries. The day before the vote, fake campaign calls from Democratic US President Joe Biden caused a stir in New Hampshire – and fueled fears of manipulation by artificial intelligence at the start of the election year.

The area code series with a clear favorite

In polls of Republican presidential candidates, Trump has a huge lead nationally over Haley. But in New Hampshire the gap is significantly smaller: the 52-year-old, who as a diplomat once had to represent Trump’s foreign policy on the international stage, has caught up there and is hoping for a strong result. Trump, in turn, called on his supporters in advance to give him an election victory in New Hampshire by a large margin in order to cement his role as the party’s frontrunner.

Haley promises perseverance in a duel with Trump. “Everyone is waiting to write my obituary,” she told CNN in New Hampshire. However, she has remained in a field of applicants in which, from initially more than a dozen candidates, there are now only two remaining. The 52-year-old emphasized that she is a fighter and “someone who doesn’t give up.”

Anyone who wants to become a presidential candidate in the USA must first prevail in internal party primaries. The candidates are then officially chosen at party conferences in the summer. The actual presidential election is on November 5th.

The Republicans’ first primary election decision was made in mid-January in the state of Iowa. Trump won there by a wide margin ahead of DeSantis and Haley. While in Iowa people voted at party meetings, so-called “caucus” meetings, people in New Hampshire voted in the classic way at polling stations on Tuesday. According to German time, they shouldn’t close until Wednesday night.

100 percent approval for Haley in a mini-village

In New Hampshire, the event traditionally began with a tiny village called Dixville Notch in the very north of the state, near the Canadian border. There, the local polling station always opens immediately after midnight, accompanied by a huge media frenzy. This was the case this time too – and the few residents of the mini-community were the first in the state to cast their votes. All six votes there went to Haley. The Republican thanked the platform X (formerly Twitter) for the encouragement. “A great start to a great day in New Hampshire,” Haley wrote. However, it is unlikely to achieve 100 percent of the vote in other places.

Democrats are also voting – without Biden on the ballot

New Hampshire also voted on the Democratic presidential candidate. However, incumbent Biden, who wants to run for a second term, was not on the ballot. The background is an internal dispute: The Democratic Party wanted to move the start of the primary election series to South Carolina – to a state with a more diverse electorate, in order to give the votes of black voters a larger stage. The vote there is scheduled for February 3rd. However, New Hampshire did not want to lose its status as the first primary election state and insisted on its early voting date.

Biden stuck to the party line and did not get on the ballot in New Hampshire. Therefore only largely unknown candidates were listed there who have no chance whatsoever due to a lack of celebrity. As the incumbent, Biden has no serious competition in the race anyway.

Call from fake Biden sparks new concern about AI fakes

The day before the vote, fake election campaign calls from Biden caused a stir in New Hampshire. In the automated call, a voice that sounded confusingly similar to Biden’s called on Democrats in the state not to participate in the primary election there. Such so-called robocalls are a common election campaign tool in the USA. However, the increasing spread of applications using artificial intelligence brings with it new risks. The sender information on the calls was also falsified so that they appeared to come from a political committee of Biden’s Democratic Party, New Hampshire’s attorney general’s office said Monday.

Software based on artificial intelligence can be trained to pronounce arbitrary sentences using the voices of specific people using sound recordings. There are also concerns about the possibility of using software to create targeted images – and now also short videos – with any content. Until now, errors have often been evident in the artificially generated images, but the technology is rapidly improving.