Note: This story has been updated to reflect the final decision of the nomination vacancy committee.
Boulder City Council member Junie Joseph is the Democratic candidate who will face Republican Bill DeOreo in the House District 10 race this November.
Joseph, a Haitian immigrant who has been on the City Council since 2019, was selected by a Boulder County Democratic Party nomination vacancy committee on Monday night. She will replace Rep. Edie Hooton, who withdrew from the race about a month after the June primary.
“I did not see a lot of options for success growing up,” Joseph said in the five minutes all candidates were allotted ahead of the vote. “But I knew I wanted to be of value to my community. I knew I wanted to lead a life of service.”
She moved to the United States at age 14, and she did not speak a word of English. Since then, she’s graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder law school, served as an intern for the Obama White House and has been elected a member of the Boulder City Council.
At the conclusion of the second round of exhaustive voting, in which committee members had to select one candidate, Joseph led the race with 24 votes followed closely behind by Boulder Valley School District science teacher Tina Mueh, who had 23 votes.
Her lead strengthened in the second round when she garnered majority support with 54.8% of the vacancy committee vote.
Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett, who made it past the initial round of approval voting, in which voters could select all the candidates they considered reasonable choices, dropped off when the process shifted to exhaustive voting since he was in third place.
The nomination vacancy committee tasked with selecting Hooton’s replacement consisted of the delegates who attended the Boulder County 2022 Democratic Assembly. Those delegates were elected to attend the assembly at earlier caucuses. According to state statute, the time at which a vacancy occurs ultimately dictates how a party can fill that vacancy.
BVSD science educator Tina Mueh has announced her intent to run as the Democratic nominee for House District 10. (courtesy photo)
By the time Monday’s meeting began, there were six people seeking the nomination. In addition to Brockett, Joseph and Mueh, sustainable environmentalist Jerry Greene, RTD Director Lynn Guissinger and political advocate Celeste Landry were the other remaining potential nominees.
Business professional Xanthe Thomassen participated in Saturday’s candidate forum but withdrew her name from the list ahead of Monday’s meeting.
Now that the results are final, there will likely be procedural impacts on the Boulder City Council because Joseph is serving a term that ends in 2023 and House District 10 heavily favors the Democratic nominee.
If Joseph goes on to win the general election, she will need to resign from her current position on the Council, triggering another vacancy.
Because this potential City Council vacancy would occur after Aug. 1, 2022, and before Aug. 1, 2023, city code states that a new council member will be selected in the municipal election in November 2023.
Boulder City Attorney Teresa Taylor Tate last week confirmed that if either Brockett or Joseph were selected for the nomination and then went on to win the election, the City Council would be down a person for the majority of 2023 until the municipal election in November.
Hooton, who is approaching the conclusion of her third two-year term, withdrew about a month after the June primary for personal reasons. She spoke briefly at Monday’s meeting and said she was impressed with the quality of candidates who announced their intent to replace her as the Democratic candidate.
She also reiterated that the process is one that’s been laid out.
“We have a standing vacancy committee in our county and in counties across the state so this does happen,” Hooton said. “I appreciate everyone understanding.”