PORTLAND, Ore. — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Oregon three times in recent weeks, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton chose to send her husband instead. Oregon voters were deciding Tuesday which of the two they want as the Democratic presidential nominee.
In the Republican primary, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump easily defeated two rivals who already suspended their national campaigns — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Cruz and Kasich were still on Oregon ballots.
With 35 percent of the vote counted, Trump had a large margin with 63.5 percent of the vote.
Votes were still being counted in the Democratic presidential race. Both campaigns said Sanders had an edge in blue Oregon, where his progressive ideas resonate with many.
Nonetheless, given's Clinton's commanding national delegate lead over Sanders, even progressive Oregonians may find themselves torn between a candidate who stirs their passion and one who is more likely to win the nomination.
"I will support Hillary if she's the nominee, but my heart is with Bernie," said Richard Walden, who has lived in Portland for 30 years and was delivering his ballot to a drop box in Portland.
Mary Brewster, 62, and husband David Price, 65, took their ballots to a Portland drop box Monday night.
Both are registered Democrats, and both voted for Sanders. Brewster's view: "I think we need huge change — doesn't mean I think he could pull it off, but I thought that it would be important to vote for the things I believed in, and then vote for Hillary in the general election."
The contested presidential primaries energized Oregonians about their role in Tuesday's races. About 160,000 Oregon voters added themselves to the Democratic and Republican rolls this year, most as Democrats.
Oregon will send 74 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, 13 of them superdelegates while the rest are pledged delegates. Oregon's Republican party has 28 pledged delegates, and no superdelegates. Pledged delegates in both parties are allocated to the conventions proportionally to the primary voting results.
Because of Republican efforts to stop the Trump juggernaut, Oregon gained national attention for the unusual role it could've played in the presidential primary season.
As Trump notched one victory after the next, two of his rivals — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — hatched a plan to try stop him. They agreed that Cruz would not campaign in Oregon and New Mexico, and Kasich would stand aside for Cruz in Indiana.
The plan flopped almost immediately. For starters, Kasich's campaign failed to get him included in the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet — which Oregonians use for information about candidates and races as they fill in their mail ballots.
Kasich made one visit to Oregon after the pact was made, and his trip generated little enthusiasm. The deal didn't help Cruz in Indiana, where he was crushed by Trump.
Associated Press writer Manuel Valdes contributed to this report.