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Boulder County Democratic Party defends process to replace state representative

Boulder County Dems defend process to replace state representative
Boulder County Dems defend process to replace state representative 01:58

Some survivors of the Marshall Fire say they're being shut out of the process of deciding who represents them in the state legislature.

Their last representative, Tracey Bernett, resigned this month after investigators say she lied about her residency to get re-elected - a potential felony.

Louisville resident Tawnya Somouroo says after losing everything they own, the last thing she and other fire survivors needed was to lose their state representative: "It's never been more important that we have a representative in the state legislature that is going to represent us and our needs."

Four people are running for the job - Alfredo Alvarado, Kyle Brown, Jenn Kaaoush, and David Skaggs.

Somauroo supports Kaaoush, another fire survivor, but she says the Boulder County Democratic Party, which is in charge of choosing a replacement, isn't allowing public input: "It very much feels like an insider group and voters are shut out."

A committee made up of 53 democrats will make the decision. They were elected at the party's caucus last spring but their names have not been made public. Somauroo learned one of them is candidate Kyle Brown.

"It feels like a conflict of interest, especially in view of the fact that the reason we have no one in this seat is because of dishonesty and a lack of integrity," Somauroo said.

Karin Asensio, executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party, says it's a fair concern.

"Unfortunately, nothing in the rules prevents anyone from doing that and we just follow the rules strictly," Asensio said. "I do encourage them, if this is really a concern, that they raise this with our rules committee."

Somauroo says the party should err on the side of fairness and openness and ask Brown to recuse himself: "Whether or not you have a specific rule for every situation or not, we still have a stake in this process and we voters feel very much cut out of it."

After CBS News Colorado contacted the Boulder County Democratic Party about this story, it set up an email for public comment:

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