BISMARCK — The North Dakota Democratic-NPL party has selected a new leader.

Party officials elected Patrick Hart as the new state party chairman on Saturday, May 8. Hart, who ran unsuccessfully for state auditor last year will take over for Kylie Oversen, who announced in March she would not run again after six years at the helm. Hart served as the party's vice chair before Saturday and works as a small business owner in Bismarck.

Hart beat out former gubernatorial candidate Shelley Lenz for the party's top position on Saturday.

"I am honored that my fellow Dem-NPL members across the state have chosen me to take on this important role and lead our party to create a new, expansive vision for North Dakota," Hart said in a news release. "Together, we’ll fight for the North Dakotans that build our state."

Oversen called Hart "a champion for workers that will carry the fight in each and every election."

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Hart will take over a party that has struggled to remain relevant on the Republican-dominated political scene in recent years. North Dakota Democrats hold no congressional or statewide offices and just 15% of the seats in the state Legislature. At the top of last year's ticket, former Republican President Donald Trump carried 65% of the vote to then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden's 32%.

The party also elected Kari Breker as vice chair, Adam Goldwyn as Democratic National Committeeman, Tracey Wilkie as treasurer and Birgit Pruess as secretary, according to the release.