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Boulder County’s Democratic Field for Soon-to-be Vacant State Senate Seat Grows

December 4, 2018

Andrew O'Connor

As many as four Democrats have now expressed interest in succeeding state Sen. Matt Jones in the eastern Bolder County’s Senate District 17 seat in the Legislature, according to county Democratic Party chairwoman Ellen Burnes.

A vacancy committee tentatively is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Dec. 15 at Longmont’s Sunset Middle School, 1300 S. Sunset St., to select someone to fill the seat that’s opening because of Louisville Democrat Jones’ November election to the Board of Boulder County Commissioners.

Burnes said the four people who thus far have notified party officials that they’d like to replace fellow Democrat Jones in the state Senate — all of them Lafayette residents — are:

• Mike Foote, who is wrapping up his sixth year as the Colorado House District 12 representative in the Legislature. He lost his June Democratic primary-election bid for the Boulder County district attorney’s seat.

• Annmarie Jensen, a political activist and retired lobbyist who last February was the first to announce her intention to be a candidate for the seat when it normally would be up for election in 2020.

• Andrew O’Connor, an unsuccessful 2017 Lafayette City Council candidate one of several Democrats who earlier this year sought to be their party’s nominee for the county commissioners’ seat that Jones wound up winning in last month’s general election.

• Kris Wassell, an employee in the Boulder County Assessor’s Office who said on Monday that she formerly worked for the Colorado Division of Property Taxation and taught in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley school districts.

That current four-person field could change between now and the Dec. 15 vacancy committee meetings, and party rules would allow other candidates to be nominated during that day’s meeting as well.

Senate District 17 represents Louisville, Lafayette, the Boulder County portions of Longmont and Erie and unincorporated Boulder County areas between those communities.

The vacancy committee is comprised of more than 150 members of the Democratic Party’s Senate District 17 Central Committee. That panel’s pick to succeed Jones could serve through the end of 2020, which would be the rest of the original four-year Senate term to which Jones was re-elected in 2016.

Any registered Democrat who is a resident of the Senate district is eligible to run for the vacancy committee’s nod.

The Boulder County Democratic Party has invited people with questions about the vacancy filling process — as well as anyone wishing to express his or her intent to run for the seat — to send an email to sd17@bocodems.org .

Burnes said an opportunity to “meet-and-greet” the Senate candidates — along with short presentations by each — is being planned for about 5:30 p.m. Dec. 12 prior to the county party’s executive committee meeting at 5735 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder.

John Fryar: 303-684-5211, jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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