Longtime Democratic activist Josie Valdez has been elected Utah Democratic Party vice chairwoman to replace Jim Judd, who died in August from injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash.
That party's state central committee elected Valdez Saturday on a second ballot after a first ballot narrowed the candidate field to Valdez and attorney Jane Marquardt.
"We were blessed with a great field of candidates; Josie Valdez will be a fantastic representative for the state of Utah, both as vice chair ... and as a member of the Democratic National Committee in Washington," Jim Dabakis, party chairman, said in a statement.
Valdez said she looked forward to working with Dabakis, Marquardt and the central committee.
"We are one party. We are one Democratic family," she said in a statement. "We are going to grow this party in ways we've never even imagined."
Valdez worked in the Utah office of the U.S. Small Business Administration for nearly 30 years. She was a lieutenant governor candidate in 2008, running with Bob Springmeyer, whom former Gov. Jon Huntsman defeated for a second term.
She also ran this fall for the Utah Senate District 8 but was defeated by Republican Brian Shiozawa.