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This year's United States presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic and divided in history. Americans living in the Bay reveal their opinions on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the other candidates while Juliet Rowan explains the US voting system of primaries, caucuses and delegates. Local politicians also share their views on the contenders and why the election matters to New Zealand.
Chelsea and Jeff Gardner hail from Utah, sometimes branded "the most Republican state in the union".
Chelsea has traditionally voted Republican, while Jeff describes himself as "centrist" and has voted both Republican and Democrat.
But this election, the couple, who are living in Mount Maunganui with their three children, are firmly in the Democratic Party camp.
I feel like he's a cartoon character and I'm not impressed with his morals or his ability to lead.
Jeff is spending a year working as an emergency medicine specialist at Tauranga Hospital and favours Bernie Sanders over leading Democrat contender Hillary Clinton, who Jeff views as capable and experienced but lacking in honesty.
"Still, I'd take her over any of the Republican candidates because I frankly think they're crazy," Jeff says. "I think Donald Trump is visibly the most obnoxious, but I think they all have reprehensible positions on social issues."
Chelsea, who works part-time as a violin teacher when in the States, rejects any notion of Trump as an advocate for the people.
"I feel like he's a cartoon character and I'm not impressed with his morals or his ability to lead. When he announced his candidacy, I honestly thought it would only last a few weeks, that it was a publicity stunt," she says.
Chelsea also supports Sanders, saying her decision to switch to the Democrats has been influenced in part by living in Tauranga.
"After living in a country where I've seen socialised medicine work and social programmes that function well, like New Zealand, I feel much more open to that being a good possibility."
She believes more than ever that this year's election campaign is bringing to light problems with the US political system, including a lack of moderate candidates.
Her husband likes Sanders because, he says, he has not sold out to corporations or special interest groups. "He seems the most compassionate of the candidates [and] certainly idealistic."
Jeff says living in New Zealand they get asked about Trump all the time, but he does not believe the flame-haired 69-year-old will make president.
"I have plenty of Republican friends who are staunchly Republican, but they won't vote for him. He's not even really a real Republican. He doesn't really have any conservative roots. He's just a complete sell-out."
Bill Murphy, executive director of Tauranga investment firm Enterprise Angels, is "stunned and embarrassed" by the rise of Trump.