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State party leaders try to end rift between Clinton and Sanders supporters to prevent GOP advances.

SALEM — Seemingly energized by a common enemy — President Donald J. Trump — the Democratic Party of Oregon convened for a leadership reorganization in Salem this weekend.

Many candidates for party positions spoke of uniting the party in the wake of a divisive presidential election by appealing to rural voters and fostering an overall culture of inclusivity.

While the presidential election revealed fractures within the national Democratic party — roughly along the lines of those who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and those who supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — those fault lines were felt in Oregon, as well.

In its report on recent accomplishments, the party characterized the election of Trump and the party's loss of the Oregon Secretary of State's Office as "heartbreaks." Republican Dennis Richardson won the office over state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, a Democrat.

On Sunday, Democratic Party of Oregon delegates elected former Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins to chair the party.

Atkins is a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and was appointed secretary of state in early 2015, when then-Secretary of State Kate Brown became governor after the resignation of former Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Atkins, who did not seek election to the office and intended to retire from public service, said she was motivated to jump back into politics by Trump's election.

In a speech before party delegates cast their votes, Atkins acknowledged the party's recent setbacks.

But she said Oregon Democrats have had successes as well — such as the recent passage and implementation of the country's first automatic voter registration law and raising the state's minimum wage.

Atkins said she seeks to include and mobilize the ranks of people she said were turning to the Democratic party to "resist the dark vision of Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans."

"Our task is to open our organization to them," Atkins said, "to encourage and work alongside these new organizations and individuals to make change, and to do our job of electing leaders who endorse our Democratic values of fairness, justice and opportunity."

Her opponent for chair, Larry Taylor, who has been involved with the party on the local, state and national level for 20 years, said that Oregon Democrats had sent a message to party leadership in last year's election that they wanted a change.

"In Oregon, (voters) elected a Republican as secretary of state, and 28 out of 36 counties voted for Trump," Taylor said. In some counties east of the Cascades, more than 70 percent of voters cast their ballots for Trump, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's Office.

Taylor also communicated a sense of urgency in maintaining the party's hold on the state Legislature, saying that Democrats needed to run in races for all state legislative seats.

In the most recent election, one Oregon Senate seat flipped from blue to red, as the late Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, who died in August, was replaced by Alan DeBoer, a Republican from Ashland, in a special election last year.

Across the board, Oregon Democrats are eager to maintain their hold on the governorship.

Gov. Brown, who was elected in November to finish the term of her predecessor, is up for reelection in 2018. A Republican has not held the position since the late Vic Atiyeh, who served from 1979 to 1987.

Some divisions within Oregon's Democratic Party were not only over presidential candidates, but philosophy.

Saying he sought to restore trust and confidence in the party, new male Vice Chair Valdez Bravo called on party members to "move on" from the 2016 campaign.

"If we're to accomplish our bold ambitions and fight against a fascist right-wing agenda, then we have to stop seeing each other as Bernie versus Hillary," Bravo, who ran unopposed, said. "We have to stop seeing each other as establishment versus grassroots. We have to stop seeing each other as radical versus liberal, and quite simply, we have to stop seeing each other as us versus them."

Bravo said he believed the party had a chance to strengthen in Oregon's predominantly Republican-leaning rural counties by sending more resources east of the mountains and emphasizing party leadership in individual counties.

Lupita Maurer, who was elected Sunday as the party's female vice chair, said in remarks prior to her victory that the party needed to go beyond "lip service" to a strategy of working in all Oregon's counties, and that the party needed to help counties develop programs to foster Democratic leadership on the neighborhood level.

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